I love this little meditation. I first learned it from a teacher in Varanasi, India. I love that it is that it is so simple, so universal ,and doesn’t require any philosophical preparation or cultural trappings. The visualization exercise doesn’t require you to be an accomplished meditator or engage in a lot of mental gymnastics. It is very gentle – exactly the gentleness that it encourages in ourselves. You only need a mind and a body and 5 minutes of time. I find that shorter meditations can be very effective, especially for us beginners
This meditation helps us to accept ourselves as we are, without judgement. When we treat ourselves with respect and acceptance, we find that we respect and accept others more easily. It’s a truly magical formula! Tell your inner critic to take a holiday and enjoy this beautiful act of self-friendship.
1. Sit comfortably on a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Take a moment to observe your body and adjust your position if need be. Slow down your rate of breathing a little, extending and refining the inhalation and the exhalation, breathing only through the nose if you can.
2. Mentally scan your body starting from the feet and moving upwards, relaxing any muscles that you discover are tense, all the way up to the head. Feel the connection between your body and what you are sitting on. Relax the stomach and bring the breath more into the stomach, noticing how it rises and falls with each inhalation and exhalation.
3. Close your eyes and imagine that in front of you is a full-length mirror. See your reflection in that mirror, just as you are right now, with the same clothes. Take a minute or so to really stabilize this image of your own reflection in your mind.
4. Mentally offer a greeting to this mirror-self, with a sense of goodwill, understanding and encouragement. Feel these sentiments around your heart, like a warm energy, and continue to offer these positive feelings to your mirror self. Gently lift the corners of your lips into a half smile. Do this for a few minutes, returning to the visualization every time your mind wanders off, which it most probably will! Gently bring your attention back to the visualization (without berating yourself for wandering off to the garden or your plans for the day or wherever it went), and continue to extend these feelings of warmth and good will to your mirror self.
5. Now feel that your mirror self has fully accepted these sentiments with appreciation.
6. Then imagine that the mirror dissolves leaving only the mirror self which then merges into you and dissolves into the area around your heart. Feel that all these sentiments are now operating beautifully inside you. Warmth, goodwill, understand and encouragement. Sit for a while, bathed in all these good feelings.
Move out of the meditation slowly, taking your time, and move through the rest of your day with a more positive outlook.
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Accept yourself, respect yourself.