The following is a transcript of a 20-minute guided meditation by Dr. Christopher Germer to increase feelings of loving-kindness and an attitude of self-compassion. You can memorize the easy instructions and repeat it silently to yourself, or make a recording to play back.
Alternatively, you can listen to the audio track here:
Please set aside 20 minutes for the purpose of soothing yourself in the midst of difficult or stressful times. Sit in a comfortable position, reasonably upright and relaxed. Fully or partially close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths to settle into your body and into the present moment. Put your hand on your heart for a moment to remind yourself of the innate good will that all living beings feel toward themselves.
Form an image of yourself sitting down. Note your posture on the chair as if you saw yourself from the outside.
Now bring your attention inside your body and feel the pulsation and vibration of your body. Locate your breathing where you can feel it most easily. Feel how your breath moves in your body, and when your attention wanders, gently feel the movement of your breath once again.
After a few minutes, start to notice areas of stress that you’re holding in your body, perhaps in your neck, jaw, belly, or forehead. Also, notice if you’re holding some difficult emotions, such as worry about the future or uneasiness about the past. Understand that every human body bears stress and worry throughout the day.
Now offer yourself goodwill because of what you’re holding in your body right now. Say the following phrases to yourself, softly and gently:
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful.
May I be kind to myself.
May I accept myself as I am.
When you notice that your mind has wandered, return to the words or the experience of discomfort in your body or mind. Go slow.
If you are ever overwhelmed with emotion, you can always return to your breathing. You can also name the emotion, or find it in the physical body and soften that area. Then, when you’re comfortable, return to the phrases.
Finally, take a few breaths and just rest sit quietly in your own body, savoring the good will and compassion that flows naturally from your own heart. Know that you can return to the phrases anytime you wish.
Gently open your eyes and slowly return your awareness to your surroundings.
What comes next?
In session 8, we explore different risk and protective factors that you need to identify and manage to maximize the outcome of your helping efforts and maintain the positive progress.