Compassion is a subtle act of kindness and love expression to those around us. It is an emotional feeling that is glorified in all religions, social settings, and communities. People who show compassion are revered, respected, and regarded highly in any society around the world. In the Dalai Lama’s own words, he stated: “Whether one believes in a religion or not and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who does not appreciate kindness and compassion.”
Whether you smile at people as a show of appreciation or just accepting your mistakes and forgiving yourself, it is an act of compassion. It is a feeling that springs deep down in our hearts, with love, and each one of us is born with it. It has no attachment to an external object, and it is pure by nature. It cannot be solicited and, therefore, making one feel bad so that we may forgive them is not an act of compassion rather than that of greed, selfishness, and of a twisted mind.
Meditation can bring out the best in people in all circumstances. It can awaken the subconscious brain, which holds the keys to our happiness and emotional balance. These may, in turn, activate the hidden true self, which is filled with compassion, love, and kindness. Being hard on ourselves is counterproductive, yet we always do it. It, however, should never be the case and we should strive to liberate ourselves from the patterns of thoughts we have developed over the years that prevents us from being who we are meant to be: compassionate beings.
Meditation For Compassion
We need to make sure that we are, first and foremost, compassionate towards ourselves. We can never give others what we don’t have ourselves. Each day we must strive to always accept ourselves by not being so hard on ourselves. We should also remove all distressing factors in our lives, ensure that we give room for other people and their opinions and always perform small kinds of kindness. It will go a long way in developing our meditation routine for compassion.
Steps For Compassion Meditation
- Select a comfortable place to practice. A quiet environment with no distractions should be the starting point for this type of meditation.
- Focus on those faced with misfortune. Visualize the people who you are more likely to feel compassionate about. Make your visualization as vivid as possible for best results.
- Fill your minds with happy thoughts of them overcoming their sorrows. Visualize them as they recover from their stressful to a more healthy life in the present and the future.
- The next step is we need to practice mindfulness and gentle awareness of compassion. Let that feeling fill your body as you go deeper into meditation.
- Let go of any distractions that come along during meditation and continue observing proper posture and breathing techniques as you go deeper and deeper into a meditative state.
It is important to note that any meditation can follow the above steps. It is because the focus is placed on the visualization process and connection with your emotional inner-self.
Complete Yogic Breathing
Oxygen is the most necessary element for our body to function properly and if our blood hasn’t received enough oxygen, then the life of cells will reduce. Even though this is general knowledge, and everybody understands we need oxygen to function and stay healthy, we tend to give almost no attention to breathing. Since we’ve been doing this since birth, we have come to believe it cannot be done incorrectly. But the truth is, most people don’t breathe fully, but fast and with only a half of the full lung capacity. On the other hand, yogi masters of the east have always paid utmost attention to complete and thorough breathing, and in fact, have measured human lives by breath count. It is popularly believed that slow breathing is the secret of their longevity.
Before trying to breathe like a yogi, one must determine how badly they are actually breathing. Seeing the mistakes we make is the first step in resolving them.
There are three most common types of breathing:
- The first is abdominal, most common in males. The diaphragm is lowering in the moment of inhalation, and the abdomen swells up. This breathing technique is not complete but is much better and more profound than the other two listed below.
- Chest breathing is the second method and is achieved with the expansion of the ribs and spreading of the lungs.
- The third and most superficial type of breathing is clavicular. The air gets in the body by raising the clavicles. This method fills only the upper part of the lungs with air. It is often instinctively used by females since it is natural and the only possible technique during the pregnancy.
Complete yogic breathing connects all of the methods mentioned above in one full breath. The best way to learn this breathing technique is by lying on your back, which allows for the deepest relaxation. Also, since we are not used to breathing fully, it can result in dizziness, which makes this position the best and safest option. Be sure to wear comfy, breathable clothes while doing this exercise. Regular workout clothes will do.
Here is the technique in four steps:
- Breathe out completely. It is the key element for correct breathing. Although this seems like a simple step, we rarely really breathe out. To make this easier, feel free to use the Om sound while breathing out, this will make being entirely out of breath more clear.
- Slowly lower your diaphragm when breathing out. Then let the air come in and raise your abdomen.
- When your abdomen is at highest point expand the ribs; and fill the lungs completely, raising the clavicles.
- It is important to breathe slowly, without breaks, silently and through the nose. Breathe out in the order you breathed in and at the end tighten your abdomen.
Along with choosing a daily time for this exercise, feel free to breathe completely any time you think of it. With some time, complete yogic breathing will become more natural to you, and you will breathe correctly with ease, which will result in healthier and possibly even longer life.
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