The internet is peppered with meditation recordings, videos and talks each attempting to re-dress what can be described as an internal epidemic of inadequacy. We google 'how to get rid of anxiety' to bring us back to calm, in a time where our 'to do' mentality seldom engages the heart. We feel cut off, seemingly, from ourselves.
There are countless meditation teachers, many steeped in Buddhist enquiry, who we can look to to draw us away from this essentially fictitious belief, a core belief we have re-enforced over and over again, be it through school expectation, parental pressure, peer judgment or whatever may materialise as conditioning. Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Pema Chodron, Jon Kabat-Zin and now more recently added to my repertoire, Tara Brach (https://www.tarabrach.com/) talk to the inner dialogue we often hide.
A dear friend, coach, fitness guru and goddess in the kitchen (http://www.aliceysalady.com). pointed her out to me after earnest discussions of difficulties we are facing currently regarding 'home' and change. To share a personal note, going through the final stages of pregnancy for me have been intense and I have found it very difficult to connect to a sense of joy beyond the fear of change, and a beautiful albeit scary shedding of your 'old life' that a child inevitably brings. It's produced very tangible feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, that even I find difficult admitting.
So I looked towards the space of self-compassion. But in the exercise, I was shocked at the lack of it in my own dialogue. In the moment Tara suggests to place a caring hand onto our body, I showered myself in tears. How have I allowed myself to open the door to such a relentless critic? In what normal circumstance would I let anyone speak to either friends or family in that derisive, toxic and resentful way? I was shocked to hear the venom that was whirling around within.
The following meditation on self-compassion showed me just how dishonest I really have been, scarring into me notions of unworthiness- and for what? Of course, this is not an instant fix but rather a practice, that unfolds each time a different element of the DIY suffering and hopefully more importantly, a toolkit on how to recognise that place with distance.
Tara offers this deeply helpful acronym of RAIN, as a method to practice mindfulness and compassion:
R- Recognise what is going on
A- Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
I- Investigate with interest and care;
N- Nurture with self-compassion.