Meditation 6: Cultivating Self-love
Hello, and welcome back to the meditation for depression series.
Depression lies. It tells us we are not worthy, and can make us feel we will never be worthy. But the truth is that we were born worthy and that never changes.
That’s certainly easy to say but much harder to believe, but meditation can help reveal how our thoughts of unworthiness and self-blame (and worse) are just that—thoughts.
We’ve reviewed that you aren’t these thoughts. We’ve explored how noting helps you see how thoughts impact your thinking and mood, often randomly. We’ve discussed how the past and future are fighting your attention, pulling you away from the happy present.
But today we’ve going to look at the person deep down inside who is in control: you. The real you. Free of these other influences.
Your thoughts are like internal weather. When we’re depressed, it’s pretty much stormy weather non-stop. Meditation may not always bring out your internal sunshine, but it can certainly help you calm these storms inside by showing you that you are not the weather. You are the sky itself, the limitless, beautiful sky that is sometimes cloudy, sometimes drenched with rain, and sometimes (yes) even sunny.
The sky changes day to day. It isn’t perfect. But it is beautiful, more often than not. Your limitless expansive self is the truth about you.
As you observe the changes in your own weather, you discover something miraculous: you are worthy of love. Intrinsically, innately, from birth. Your weather was clouding your perspective, but now, you’re learning how to see from a different perspective…an observer of the weather…or your thoughts and when the clouds part: there you are, permanently beautiful, worthy, and loveable. Let this meditation show you how to see yourself and cultivate self-love.
Begin by settling your body comfortably. Now, notice you are breathing. Don’t try to change your breath. Just put your attention on your breathing. Notice its rhythm, in and out. Notice your chest rising and falling. Allow yourself the ease of simply noticing your breath for a few more seconds. There’s nothing to achieve except breathing, and bringing your attention back to your breath when it wanders. So easy.
Now remember a negative thought you’ve had recently. Deliberately bring it into your awareness. But don’t stay focused on it. Instead, focus on your body having that thought. See if you can feel what happens in your body when you have that negative thought: is there more tension? Where? See if you can pinpoint in your body where you tense up when you have a negative thought. It may be your neck or shoulders. Just notice your body’s default response to the thought. Keep your attention on your body for just a few more seconds, like you did your breathing.
And now stop. Return to noticing your breath. Maybe it has changed again. Maybe it is calm, maybe tense. Just notice you are breathing, you are still here, breathing. In, and out.
Ask yourself: who had the negative thought?
OK, now ask yourself: who answered that question?
And who is doing all this noticing? Is that me? Yes, that’s you. You are capable of noticing your thoughts. You are capable of noticing your body. You are capable of noticing your breathing. And you are capable of choosing if you react to your thoughts, or if you let them float along their way.
Isn’t that amazing? As you continue your calm breathing, just give a moment to ponder that you are choosing with every thought how you react. As thoughts appear, watch how your body processes them.
Try it again. First, tune into your breath. Then deliberately put your attention on a thought. It can be a happy thought this time.
What is going on in your body? Tune into the places that got tense before. How are they doing now? Just notice whatever is going on. Is it less tense than before? If you like, you can try breathing into those places. Notice that you know how to do this. Your breath expands your body and that relaxes it.
Enjoy breathing into places in your body you want to relax. Feel the playfulness of doing this. Of watching your body react in this way to something you do so often.
Now, let’s continue this observation, gently taking a few deep breaths.
Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4,
Exhale, 1, 2,3,4,5
Breathe into those areas of tension. Fill them with cool, calm air.
Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4,
Exhale, 1, 2,3,4,5
Now, let your breath return to normal. Just let it be in its own rhythm.
As you close this meditation: Who is breathing? Who is noticing? Thoughts come and thoughts go, but your noticing self is always available to you. You have this spacious expansive self available to you because it is you. Your thoughts come and go. They aren’t you. They are like the weather in your sky. You are the sky. Breathe in the pure air. Breathe it out and notice there is always more pure air in the sky. Breathing in, and breathing out, nothing to do but rest in the purity and perfection of your being.
Love is the only possible feeling you can have for this spacious being you are. You may not love the clouds, but you get to choose if their rain soaks you. It is easy to love this self you are.
Now, gently open your eyes and smile. You are doing well. Congratulations for continuing on your journey toward peace, joy, and self-love. Until next time, take this awareness with you throughout your day and week, allowing yourself to simply be who you really are…love.
”Depression lies. It tells us we are not worthy, and can make us feel we will never be worthy. But the truth is that we were born worthy and that never changes.