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Week 9 - Wishing Compassion

Let’s begin with a mindful centering practice to fully arrive to this space.

First, notice your body posture at this moment and begin to make adjustments to sit in an upright position that would allow you to pay attention fully in the next few moments.

You can let go of anything you may be holding on to out of concern, worry, desire, or resentment. Bring your feet flat on the floor, back straight but not stiff, shoulders relaxed, facial muscles relaxed, and hands resting comfortably on your thighs or in your lap. Let your eyes gently close.


To begin, let’s take a few deep breaths as an invitation to bring the mind and body together. Take a deep breath through your nose, and let the breath come out through your mouth. Make the exhalation slow and long. Let’s do this two or three more times. Watch the body release as you exhale slow and long.


Now let your breath move at its own pace and just pay attention to the flow of the breath in and out. Just notice the sensations of breathing.

(short pause)

First, bring your attention to your physical body and notice any sensations.

How is your body feeling right now?


Now, bring your attention to your mind and see what thoughts are there. When you notice a thought, just label it as “thinking”.

(short pause)

Then, begin to notice any emotions in the body and mind. When you notice any sensations, just label them as “feeling”.

Remember that whatever you notice, you can allow these sensations to be there without having to change them, push them away, or hold on to them. And when your mind wanders, just quietly bring yourself.


Now in the next few moments we will be focusing on generating the feeling of compassion for others as well as ourselves.  We will practice wishing upon others and ourselves feelings of well being and happiness.

To begin, bring to mind now someone who makes you feel happy as soon as you think of them such as a  relative, friend, or animal. Take a moment to see them in your mind’s eye as clearly as you can. If you can’t see them clearly, imagine specific qualities of them, clothes they wear, or the sound of the voice or bark, or characteristic behaviors, or ways they look at you.

Sense that person or animal in front of you now and let a natural sense of care for this being rise to the surface. If you need to, think about a situation in which that person has done something remarkable or caring for you, or has suffered, or had hopes and dreams that were unfulfilled, or remain uncertain. Consider whatever you need to so that natural care wells up from within.

Notice the kinds of sensations that arise in your own body as you experience this strong sense of care.


Now with that person or animal before you, and with a strong sense of care connecting you, express your desire for their own flourishing by saying to yourself, outloud or internally (Or,  you can use your own words that are meaningful to you):

May you be safe and protected from danger.

May you be happy and peaceful.

May you be healthy and strong

May you have ease and wellbeing.

May you be free from stress and anxiety.

May you be free from all fear.

May you flourish in all ways.


Now notice how you’re feeling internally in body and mind as a result of not just feeling care for the other, but expressing your desire and hope that they flourish.


Now imagine this loved one turns around and begins to reciprocate by sending love and care to you.  Let yourself receive it as this this person wishes for you to be well, happy and fourishing::

May you be peaceful and at ease

May you be safe and protected from all danger

May you have joy, well being

If you’re feeling something else other than care, just notice that. There may be something valuable to learn here.


Now see  if you can send a sense of loving care to yourself. Bring your life and self to mind, which you now in intimate detail like no other, and quietly recite internally or externally:

May I be safe and protected from danger.

May I be healthy and strong.

May I be happy and peaceful.

May I flourish.

May I accept my self.

Notice what it is you feel as you do this.


Now, let’s return to your breath and anchor your attention there again.

For a few moments, pay attention to the rise and fall of each breath and the feeling of the breath inside the body.

Let your mind rest in the natural cycle of your breath.

There is no need to do anything right now.

Just resting in the experience of your breath.


To close our practice, let’s bring to mind a sense of gratitude. Take a moment to feel the sense of appreciation for all the times we have received care  and support  in our life along with all of the opportunities we have had to give care and support to our loved ones and positively influenced their lives.   Reflect on and appreciate this dynamic  we find ourselves in as human beings of giving and receiving care throughout our lives.


See if you can during the rest of your the day, begin to be more aware of small moments in which you both receive and give care and how that feels in your body and mind.  

Now, slowly begin to bring some movement into your fingers and toes, bring some movement into the whole body, stretching gently, and then allow the eyes to open when you’re ready. Take your time.


Week 9 - Wishing Compassion
Collection The Art and Science of Human Flourishing - Fall 2017
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)