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We all long for someone to offer us unconditional love and support. But what if that person is us? The practice of mindful self-compassion creates the space we need so that observation, acceptance, and real love can enter, no matter how judgmental or disconnected we may feel.
It sounds like a simple idea: to be kind to yourself. But if you pay attention to your thoughts, habits, and self-talk, you may find that it's more difficult than it sounds. The intentional practice of self-compassion, outlined here by Buddhist scholar and teacher Bodhipaksa, can help you find greater overall wellbeing, emotional resilience, physical health, and willpower. Bodhipaksa provides both the why and the how of mindful self-compassion, drawing on contemporary psychology and neuroscience and also on Buddhist psychology, weaving the modern and ancient together into a coherent whole.
Contemporary psychologists are focusing less on self-esteem and more on self-compassion. Bodhipaksa, a practicing meditator of more than thirty years, effortlessly blends ancient techniques dating back to the time of the Buddha with the most recent understanding of psychology and neuroscience. And in the end, as Bodhipaksa writes, it is actually quite simple: "Life is short. Be kind."
Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist teacher and author who has been practicing within the Triratna Buddhist Community since 1982. He's originally from Scotland and formerly ran a retreat center in the Scottish Highlands. In 2000 he created the online meditation center Wildmind (www.wildmind.org) in order to make meditation instruction more widely available. He holds an interdisciplinary master's degree in Buddhism and business from the University of Montana. He lives and teaches in New Hampshire.