Being Friendly to Oneself

by Friends of Godwin


I will offer some suggestions, how you might try to practice when you are on your own. One thing is when you have difficulties and cannot feel friendly to yourself, you have to be friendly to just that. You can say to yourself: So now, I cannot meditate on loving-kindness, but it is okay that I cannot practice meditation on loving-kindness. Otherwise what happens is we resist it, we dislike it, we hate it, we give ourselves a minus because we are unable to do that. But here, this is in a way being friendly to oneself by accepting what is.

Maybe another suggestion would be, when you have an unpleasant experience, maybe a physical pain, maybe a mental pain, in that situation can you can really say to yourself: I do not feel okay, but it is okay that I do not feel okay. So you have to remember this in such situations. It is again saying okay to it, accepting it, being friendly to it, without hating or disliking or resisting it.

So maybe another suggestion is – this practice is something which you may try to do in the morning when you wake up, just for a few minutes you can do this. You remember the quotation of the Buddha, that if you can practice meditation of loving-kindness during even the time that it takes to snap your fingers, you are worthy to be a monk. So in the morning just lying in your bed, try to think at that moment: May all beings be well and happy – include yourself – just for a few minutes, just to have thoughts of loving-kindness, thoughts of friendliness in the morning.

So another similar thought you can have in the morning is: Today may I get an opportunity to practice loving-kindness to someone else, may I get the opportunity to show kindness to someone this day. Just to have that thought, just to have that kind of aspiration, is a wonderful way of beginning the day.

Someone else said something very simple and significant, something similar to what the Buddha said, she said: we do not have to do a big thing to show loving-kindness. But little actions, small acts of loving-kindness are enough. So if you can have this openness, and if you can have this motivation, then in everyday life you are bound to find situations when you can smile at a person, smile at a child, showing some kindness. These small things, little things, are in a way acts of loving-kindness.