We all have a collection of memories of our difficult past experiences. These can stay with us for a lifetime. Sometimes these experiences can build up and become a very real burden that is unhelpful for our happiness.
There are a number of ways that students of meditation can release their emotional baggage. Compassion, gratitude and self-compassion a key practices that I teach regularly.
At the heart of these practices is the self-compassion meditation which consists of three statements.
Adopt a relaxed, balanced and open posture with your back straight, elbows by your side and head balanced on your spine.
I suggest that when you practice this, you repeat each statement, either in your mind, using your inner voice, or spoken, as you breathe out. So each statement is synchronised with an out-breath.
Focus your attention on the breath at the top of the belly and lower chest. At the point where the belly and chest meet.
Ensure that you are breathing deeply by placing your tongue against the back of the top teeth so that you breathe through your nostrils.
Then repeat the self-compassion mantra:
- May I be well
- May I be happy
- May I find peace of mind
Be aware that this is not a magic practice designed to make you feel great about yourself and the rest of the world. It is a gentle mindfulness technique that helps to balance the negative self-talk and criticism from self and others that is part of our lives.
Also be aware that for some, this may bring uncomfortable emotions into your experience. If that is the case, do this when you are feeling powerful.
If it feels overwhelming, stop and either come back to it at some future point or find another gratitude practice that works for you.