In today’s meditation practice, we’ll continue building the foundations for kindness.
As the series progresses, we’ll begin to work with a form of meditation called metta meditation, or loving kindness meditation. It’s a practice rooted in Buddhist tradition. And it helps you develop warm feelings towards others, even towards people you find challenging.
But first, we’ll continue to strengthen the place where kindness starts, ourselves and our own self worth.
Take a few moments to settle into a comfortable posture for your practice. You might choose the same posture that you used in the last practice. Or you might sit in a different position. Find a way of being still in the body being steady.
And don’t worry about whether or not you look like you’re meditating. All that matters is the awareness and focus that you commit to your practice. For these 10 minutes, roll the shoulders and move the head gently from side to side to release any tension, make any movements or adjustments that you need to make in order to feel at ease.
Now take a deep breath in, feel the breath filling the lungs, expanding the body and breathe out.
Our society has ways of teaching us that kindness is a kind of weakness. And that if we are kind, we will be exploited or harmed in some way. But when a person recognizes that own self worth, they can be kind without allowing others to cross their boundaries.
Knowing what your boundaries are. and protecting them firmly. is a powerful act of love towards yourself. Which also enables you to act with kindness towards others.
It takes away uncertainty. So your relationships with others are simpler and less confusing. The people in your life know where they stand and what they can and cannot ask of you. So imagine now that you are drawing a circle around yourself in this space.
You can decide how big or how small the circle is. If you are feeling open and confident and resilient already, you might draw a big circle that encompasses all of the space you’re in. If you are struggling with boundaries right now, and feeling that others are overstepping your boundaries regularly, you may wish to start smaller and draw the circle close around you. Your choice draw a circle around you to create a safe space for yourself.
With your circle drawn, you are practicing a visualization of creating a boundary that suits your needs. You are deciding how much of this space to protect and you are deciding what you are willing and able to share with others. If they do ask for it.
A boundary like this does not have to be fixed. Sometimes you will have the energy to share your space more intensely, or to share your energy or your time or whatever resource it is that you’re being asked to share. Sometimes, you’ll need to pull your boundaries closer and protect yourself more carefully. You don’t have to fix boundaries in place for all of time.
You simply need to know how to create them and how to move them. And most importantly, you understand that you are allowed to do this. It is your right to care for yourself. You do not always have to give parts of yourself to others. It is always your choice. When someone tries to cross a boundary that you’ve drawn for yourself, you’re not stressed by it doesn’t cause you to react emotionally or violently.
Because you know the strength and validity of your own boundaries. You are able to kindly but firmly hold your space. You are able to say no or not now without guilt or shame. You are the director of your space and your energy.
Take another deep breath now. The body expands and if there is any tension left, it drops away now and breathe out. You are relaxed and at ease. Notice the space you occupy in this moment. The beauty and simplicity and the peace that exists here. Peace in this space. reflects the peace within you.
Your practice is complete.
”Knowing what your boundaries are, and protecting them firmly, is a powerful act of love towards yourself. Which also enables you to act with kindness towards others.