Blog 2: What Would It Mean To Befriend Ourselves In Practice?
During one of my longer sits this month a question presented itself before me, and I wanted to explore it more deeply in writing this month’s blog.
This first question was: Why is it easier for me to feel deep compassion for others than it is to feel for myself?
As the question rolled around in my mind, I thought of the following responses to myself:
In my development as a meditation practitioner I experience numerous instances that illuminate deep reservoirs of loving kindness, trust and compassion that I possess for others when sharing and holding space.
I am constantly surprising myself at how much patience and time I afford to people in my world. People come into my office on a daily basis and almost immediately I feel able to place my complete and undivided attention onto the other. My first inclination is to turn my heart and mind toward them, listening intently and offering singular presence to ensure they feel seen and heard with love.
I am grateful for these experiences and abilities. They help me be a better community professional, family member and friend. Yet when it comes to affording that presence and patience to myself, it literally feels like going from feast to famine. Other humans deserve the full meal, and I only warrant the table scraps.
Are we programmed from a young age to think so poorly of ourselves?
Was -I- myself programmed in some way by my culture or my upbringing? And will I see this programming better as I develop my abilities in mindfulness?
Is it inevitable that today we are more prone than ever to harsh self criticism and poor levels of self compassion? Or has it always been true? Is it a Western cultural phenomenon? And how can mindfulness practice address this?
What are you thoughts?
Is there a difference between what you offer to others in need and what you can offer to yourself when you have needs?
Do you have strengths you are grateful for?
Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.
Let’s start a conversation about this!
Beni Summers is an educator and youth specialist working in the greater Boston area. He holds the title of Moreh Ruhaniyut (hebrew: Spiritual Teacher) for a vibrant intergenerational community, and hosts weekly meditation and learning opportunities from his home. He is an avid soccer fan, a singer and community builder. He is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Mindfulness Studies at Lesley University and is working towards Craftsmen level meditation teaching as a part of Mindful Boston.