Whether to include a befriending meditation on an eight week mindfulness course often sets mindfulness teachers off on lengthy meanderings. I hear the concerns of teachers who say it feels too Buddhist or all that talk of loving kindness might put people off. I try not to include anything that will marginalise people in my courses but including a befriending meditation in my course was a conscious choice because let’s face it: religion does not have an exclusive claim to kindness. Us secular humanist atheists can be kind as well.
The bottom line is this: it’s hard to escape the unnecessary suffering caused by a stressed out mind when that mind is still being unkind to itself and others. And if it feels wrong to be kind to yourself, think of it as an act of self improvement and one that could strengthen relationships as a by product.
And kindness inspires kindness. At the weekend inspired by a group of participants on one of my courses who always wash up cups at the end of a class, I (on a training course myself) offered to clear up the lunch dishes. This cascaded down and soon all the other participants were clearing up their own plates. The organiser beamed and said ‘This doesn’t usually happen.’ Little acts can make a big difference.
Today’s total practice time: 15 minutes