This is an invitation to join us in a day cultivating a friendly relationship with what you think of as you. We will focus on an unconditional friendship that's not based on any terms or conditions. This means being your own friend when you don't meet your own expectations how how you should look, feel, act or think. This practice is about learning to choose to be present in a loving, compassionate, openhearted way as often as possible for ourselves and others.
I think we're all wired to beat ourselves up to some extent. We're conditioned this way by society. It's like we all have a little seed of self-hatred inside, a little seed that tells us we're not worthy or that we're not deserving. When we beat ourselves up we're watering this little seed of falsehood. For many of us disapproving of ourselves is so ingrained that we don't even realize we're doing it most of the time.
With mindfulness practice we can notice it as the judging mind. It can be incessant. With the practice of loving presence we can free ourselves from identification with these inner negative self stories. An inner shift can happen in our mind and heart so that there are no longer conditions that we need to meet to earn our own acceptance. Kindness can become more a way of being and not a reward for good behavior.
During this day together we will explore the three key components of self-compassion (identified by Dr. Kristin Neff in her book Self Compassion): self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to others, so that we know we aren't alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives. This loving presence is the foundation for compassionate action that seeks to reduce suffering in the world.
We will do meditation practices that cultivate mindfulness, kindness and a sense of our shared humanity. This day of meditation will be done in noble silence with periods of sitting, walking and movement meditation. There will also be a Dharma talk and opportunity for personal sharing. I hope you can make it.