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Compassion Meditation

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Karuna – Compassion Meditation

We can consciously develop our positive mental qualities through these compassion meditation techniques. Karuna – Compassion is a meditation that helps us to open our hearts to feel the pain within ourselves and others without judgement or aversion. If practiced regularly it will become your natural way of responding to any situation. What is really remarkable about this is when you react with an open heart you do not become more vulnerable but through allowing the pain to be there you cease to add to it but instead hold in in the warm embrace of compassion. It may sound unbelievable but it is true, of course the only way you will ever know is to try it for yourself.

Karuna – Compassion has the feeling of embracing the person and sharing their pain, it is like a warm cosy blanket that can be directed at ourselves and others removing any feeling of separateness and easing the suffering. It is the direct opposite to cruelty and indifference and as such can be used to weaken or remove these negative patterns. This is because only one thinking pattern can exist at any moment, we can’t wish harm and care for someone at any one time, taking advantage of this we can replace a negative pattern of thought with a positive one.

To begin compassion meditation you should not start with anyone too close that might cause grief, or a hostile person that you may feel glad that they are suffering

Karuna – Compassion Meditation

In this meditation you send your wish for the subject to be free from any suffering in this order :

1. To yourself, 2. Someone you know is suffering (not too close or a hostile person), 3. Send your feelings to all beings

Remember to develop an open heart means to open it to everyone and eventually have no enemies, only loved ones.

Take a comfortable sitting posture that you can stay in without moving for the desired length of your meditation. Close your eyes and take a deep breath then breathe out letting all thoughts and tension drop away. Slowly scan from the top of your head to your feet and release any knots and tensions you come across by breathing into them.

Make a half smile on your face, relax once more and picture yourself sitting there smiling with either a thought or image.

Now slowly and gently repeat as thoughts in your mind:

”May I be free from mental suffering”
“May I be free from physical suffering”
“Physically and mentally at ease”
“May I be able to take care of myself, happily”

Keep gently repeating these phrases to yourself softly, in no hurry and really mean it. The key here is to develop the feeling of caring that comes with saying these phrases. Once the feeling has developed keep sending it to yourself and when you are ready you can start sending to the person you have chosen.

Picture them in your mind then gently say

”May you be free from mental suffering”
“May you be free from physical suffering”
“Physically and mentally at ease”
“May you be able to take care of yourself, happily”

Next send your thoughts of caring out into your neighbourhood, suburb, city, state, country and keep increasing the range

”May everyone be free from mental suffering”
“May everyone be free from physical suffering”
“Physically and mentally at ease”
“May they all be able to take care of themselves, happily”

Link to Brahmaviharas – Divine Abodes - Breaking mental patterns

Link to Loving Kindness Meditation - Opposite of indifference, cruelty, revenge

Link to Sympathetic Joy Meditation - Opposite of jealousy, envy

Link to Awareness Meditation Article - Observing and breaking mental patterns - meditation

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This article was written by Stephen Procter, instructor from Tai Chi Health for Life, Australian College of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and Meditation Instructor from Meditation in the Shire, Kirrawee NSW, Australia. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference / link back to this website, thank you