When we’re going through difficult times, it’s easy to think we’re alone in our pain or that our hardships will never end. But challenging times are a normal part of being human. Embracing such moments as opportunities for self-compassion can help bring ease to our anguish.
In this guided meditation with Sean Fargo, we’re invited to journey through the foundations of self-compassion. We bring mindfulness to a challenging moment, recognize we’re not alone in our suffering, and give ourselves the same loving-kindness we would offer to a good friend.
Please listen in a safe, quiet place where you can be relatively free from distraction. Practice with eyes opened or closed, in a posture that balances comfort with alertness. May this meditation be of benefit to you in your mindfulness journey.
Please remember that mindfulness practice is not a replacement for therapy. Listen with care and self-compassion and practice within your window of tolerance. If this, or any other episode, triggers overwhelming, uncomfortable feelings, contact your healthcare provider.
This moment of self-compassion is inspired in part by the groundbreaking work of Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research. Neff has long worked alongside Dr. Chris Germer, who has previously appeared in episode #018, Sharing Mindful Self-Compassion and episode #056, Connecting Self-Compassion and Mindfulness.
Neff defines self-compassion as composed of three unique elements. The first is mindfulness. To apply a moment of self-compassion, we must become aware of our discomfort. Although our habit may be to suppress or avoid our suffering, the invitation is to turn toward it instead.
It’s not easy to be present with our pain. However, this challenge is softened by bringing awareness to the fact that we are never alone in this work. Recognizing our common humanity is the second element of self-compassion.
The third element is self-kindness. We may evoke this loving-kindness by offering ourselves gentle touch, such as a hand on the heart. Self-kindness can also come in the form of well-wishes, spoken silently or out-loud. Sometimes, it’s enough to just give ourselves permission to sit with our pain in meditation, acknowledging what it feels like in the body, and bringing mindfulness to all others worldwide who are doing the same.
These three steps of self-compassion - mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness - can be applied in a single moment or within a few breaths. In this meditation, Sean Fargo guides us to practice applying the three by recalling a past memory.
Learn more about self-compassion, including how to practice and teach it, with these additional free mindfulness resources:
About Sean Fargo:
Sean Fargo is a former Buddhist monk and the founder of Mindfulness Exercises. The online platform, which has shared free and premium mindfulness resources with over 3 million people worldwide, has now certified over 500 Mindfulness Teachers.
Sean is the lead instructor for the teacher training program, a unique self-paced approach which invites world-renowned mindfulness teachers to share their insights and experiences. Sean has taught mindfulness and meditation for corporations including Facebook, Google and Tesla and for health and government organizations, prisons and hospitals around the world.