compassion for myself

may my mind turn to others  ~  may I not think just of myself       

but when I do  ~  may I hold my heart in tenderness

but when I do  ~  may I hold my heart with both hands

just like I hope to hold all sentient beings

Ravenna Michalsen


As we strive to develop compassion for ourselves, it’s important to avoid making “letting go of desire” or “developing compassion for yourself” into new objects of compulsive desire. Becoming obsessive about quickly seeing big results from our efforts is a sign that deluded desire rather than compassion is driving our efforts. Real progress derives from honest introspection, and we cannot analyze our minds carefully when we’re hurried. Transforming our hearts is a gradual, organic process, and successfully cultivating compassion for ourselves necessitates a mature and steady approach.  – Lorne Ladner


I am finding that this meditation and this studying a bit of buddhism  is taking more courage than I expected.  To sit with oneself and ones thoughts…day after day…to watch the thoughts…to see honestly what is there and not flinch or hide when it is ugly or unexpected…to just notice, without blame, shame, pride, fear, grasping, pushing away or judging…just noticing and letting it flow past…this is all having a much wider impact than I expected.  It is both wonderful and awful.

On the one hand, it is hard to look at some of the things I see, the brokenness, the wrong perceptions, the way issues are gnarled and tangled like an ancient tree’s roots all through my emotions, my sense of self, my world-view.  On the other, it is a joy to see how often I am saved from falling into habitual reactions when I just watch a thought for a minute without immediately buying into it and spinning the stories that go with that thought.  Even my times of sadness and being overwhelmed by my life, by the crohn’s disease and the poverty…seeing that these thoughts and feelings pass like clouds over the sky, knowing that underneath the grayness and storminess is that serene blue sky, that all will pass, that everything changes…it is all becoming a tremendous comfort to me.  I don’t quite know how to put it into words.

I go in spurts, reading all I can get my hands on, then not reading for a bit.  I don’t want to just learn in my head, I want to change my heart.  I know this takes time and takes going back to the cushion…day after day…to be changed bit by bit.  Like it said above, it is an organic process, one I can’t rush.  So I just sit.

Through the disciplined precision of our efforts, we’ll come again and again to our edge—the difficult places beyond which we’ve previously been unable to move. Through the willingness to soften and surrender to what is, we learn that we can gradually move beyond that edge. It is only through this interplay of hard and soft, of effort and letting be, of will and willingness, that we learn to our amazement that we can emerge from the lifelong tunnel of fear that constitutes our substitute life into the nitty-gritty reality of our genuine one.  –Ezra Bayda