Kindness and Compassion

How to use Kindness in your Life

All over Asia within the Theravada Buddhist temples Loving kindness, compassion, and equanimity are practiced as foundations towards enlightenment. These foundations aren’t just practiced for the benefit of others, Loving Kindness, Compassion and Equanimity are practiced within the minds of every Monks inner speech. Every Monk trains his inner speech to be more compassionate and loving towards themselves, forgiving their faults and imperfections.

This is a practice that we can all take great benefit from. Kindness is scientifically proven to make us feel uplifted and inspired. Kindness also produces oxytocin and nitric oxide two substances that have a positive effect on reducing the free radicals in our blood as well as sort of cleaning our arteries and reducing blood pressure.

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Kindness however isn’t just about the grand gestures to others or giving large sums of money to a charity. kindness is all about the little things in life. And it’s those little acts of kindness towards ourselves that I want you to focus on today.

Kindness towards ourselves is sometimes overlooked, and we can become our own worst critic. Kindness towards ourselves is one of the most important lessons to learn throughout your entire life, without patience and kindness towards yourself and your mistakes your progression will be slow. I want you to praise yourself for achieving your goals, I want you to congratulate yourself when you have done something good. And above all I want you to be kind towards your faults.

Instead of punishing yourself for making mistakes, acknowledge those mistake and move on, don’t punish yourself for doing it, just acknowledge and move forward, you will progress much fast this way and feel optimism and positivity stay with you for much longer and longer periods.

If you think this is a little silly, just remember this. If I were to ask you to do a complicated task you had never tried before, and kept shouting abuse at you like a sergeant major, at everything you kept doing wrong, how would you feel? Now what about if I praised your achievements as you were doing this complicated task and congratulated you as you progressed, how would you then feel? Which one of these ways of doing this would you complete the task feeling better about yourself?

If you are having trouble practicing kindness towards yourself, then we have a lovely Buddhist meditation called Metta or loving kindness meditation you can practice. Going over some of the exercises found on this website will also help kindness gradually become part of your everyday life.

Loving kindness or Metta Brhavana meditation

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There are a few methods and ways to practice loving kindness, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation, as a former Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years of meditation practice and guidance I find this is the most suitable way for my western mind. This method however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart.

Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness. Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart. Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could be as simple as repeating the words “loving kindness”

However I’m going to describe below the method of visualisation.

The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some. Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside, we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to.

If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then go and do the finding The seven wonders in your life exercise.

Let’s begin

First of all find a comfortable place, somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself gently relaxing. Let’s start by calmly watch your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural. Breathing in, be aware your breathing, breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one.

Now bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have for this object. So for myself I bring Marley moo to the forefront of my mind and think of the funny antics he does. Now really start to explore that feeling, the feeling of love you have for your object in your minds eye. Don’t worry if you feel a little resistance at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed.

Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet. If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok we can have another go later, always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that is practicing loving kindness.

You may wish to stay here meditating on the love you have found inside yourself, and that’s perfectly ok, however if you want to send that love out to others, continue to practice as described below.

Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person. First we start with ourselves. Repeat this ten times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.

May I be happy

May I be free from metal suffering and distress

May I be free of physical pain and suffering

May I be peaceful and at ease

Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone other than ourselves. The Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards are

a respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher;
a dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend;
a neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g.: a person who serves you in a shop;
a hostile person – someone you are currently having difficulty with.

Starting with yourself, then systematically sending loving-kindness from person to person in the above order will have the effect of breaking down the barriers between the four types of people and yourself. This will have the effect of breaking down the divisions within your own mind, the source of much of the conflict we experience

May (insert name) be happy

May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress

May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering

May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease

If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā*

*Dhamma Tāpasā is a trained former Buddhist Monk and the spiritual name given to Andrew Hallas. An inspirational positive life coach & teacher of mindfulness and meditation techniques through the art of storytelling. Dhamma Tāpasā is able to capture our imaginations whilst teaching us valuable moral principles and deepening our understanding of the human consciousness and the everyday problems we face.

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What is your superpower?

I want to talk to you today about your super power!

You have an incredible super power hidden inside of you and today we are going to discover, find and then unleash that hidden power to change your life in almost every aspect you can think of.

Struggling to find your real purpose in life?

I’ve been there and know only too well your pain. This super power can change all that and so much more

Do you have money worries?, relationship problems?, are you feeling fed up?, depressed?

This secret power hidden within you could change all this

So what is this secret superpower of yours?

Hidden inside us all is an incredible force of nature, a force so powerful that if left unchecked can lead you to ruin. On the other hand if we harness and use this force of nature to our advantage, anything is yours for the taking. And this force of nature is your mind.

Everyone of you has a mind of your own and that mind can either break you or make you. Your mind is not the superpower I want to talk to you about today but deep within her there’s your true hidden secret superpower waiting to be discovered

To explain to you this hidden superpower I need to back up a little, and talk to you about control. More precisely the control you have in your life.

No control

First we are going to look at all those amazing things that are completely out of your control. Things like the weather, the seasons of the year, the rising of the sun and the passing of time. All these events and things, as I’m sure you agree, are all completely out of your control. Interestingly however a lot of us get very upset at bad weather or the fact we are getting older, loosing our hair or youthful looks.

Other things that our out of our control but sometimes we dearly wish we could change are our families, where we come from and our cultural heritage. We may make an effort to move away from where we were born and grew up but the truth of the matter is where we come from, our cultural heritage and our history is all part of who we are and just like our families are out of our control.

Partial control

Now let’s look at some of the things and events in your life that you have partial control over. With Partial control we are speaking about all those things we neither have complete control over and it’s neither out of our control. The best examples are relationships with others. Everywhere we interact with others, be it marriage, friends or family we neither have complete control over others and it’s neither out of our control. Every relationship is only there because it requires more than one person.

Other things we only have partial control over are the economy and politics. You may argue with me and a lot of us try and put these events under the no control category, the truth of the matter is both the economy and politics are people based systems and as such we do actually have partial control. We can choose to not participate but in both politics and economics we can’t truly pull away. As humans we need to eat, sleep and socialise, both systems support this perfectly. It’s developed naturally over thousands of years by our very own input. And the role we play in called influence.

What’s interesting is a lot of us decide that the things and events we only have partial control over we assume we have full control over. With relationships as the perfect example, how many of you have said “I will make this relationship work this time” “I will make him love me” we put tremendous pressure on ourselves to make it work. What happens when it doesn’t? Whose to blame? We are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Full Control

This last aspect covers everything we are in control of and have control over. Having this full control can be frightening for some it seems a lot of us want to give away that control away all too quickly. Sometimes it just seems too much like hard work to take responsibility for and we give our control away.

What do we have control over, we have the power and control over everything to do with ourselves. We have the power to choose our actions, our own behavioural patterns and our attitudes. The full control we have is inside of us, we can only control our thinking, our emotions and our attitudes to any given situation and nothing more. If you really think about this for a moment, you will also see you only have total power and total control over yourself.

You may argue with me and tell me your mum makes you completely crazy or your brother deliberately pulls your strings. And yes this maybe the case on the outside. However it is never your mum that makes you crazy it is always you who allows your mum to make you crazy. It is never your brother who pulls your strings it is you who allows the strings to be pulled. And this is why it can sometimes be hard to take responsibility for our thoughts, actions and attitudes, and can be so easy to give your power away.

You may see a pattern emerging here, Everything we have no power over is External to us. And everything we have power over is Internal to us.

And this is your secret superpower

You, yes you hold the very keys right there inside your mind. Are you going to let your mind ruin you or do you want to take back control.

You have the total power and total control of your attitude to any given situation. This is incredibly empowering to understand. From now on if someone says something you dislike, you have to power to choose your next move. Do you take up negativity or choose the positive optimistic road, the choice is entirely yours.

Come on now let’s unleash your true superpower!

I want you to now go through your problems one by one and ask yourself, am I in control? Is it out of my control? Or am I partial in control?. I want you to own up to your responsibility and take charge. If it’s out of your control, so what, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, and complaining, moaning and winning about it isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference. So keep your superpower, don’t give it away to something out of your control.

Your superpower is in knowing you have control of only your attitudes towards every given situation. Understanding this can have the impact your looking for in your life. Why give your superpower away cheaply and easily. This is your secret weapon against society, the system and everybody in it. You hold the very keys your very own superpower to staying positive, happy and peaceful.

Don’t ever give it away so cheaply

So the coffee clerk was rude, so what, they are out of your control, but you know the secret now, you know your attitude is in your control so, smile and move on, don’t allow your superpower to be taken by something out of your control.

Someone cut you up driving to work, so what, laugh and smile to yourself, because you know the secret superpower now. Don’t allow something out of your control to take it.

Your husband forgot your anniversary, so what, smile and laugh, because you know the secret superpower you have inside. You can only control your attitude towards any given situation.

If something is within your control, I want you to harness your superpower and take responsibility. Can you do anything to change the situation? If the answers yes do everything in your power to correct this, if you honesty give 100% and do the best you possible can do, yet it still isn’t good enough, you couldn’t do any more or any better and this naturally brings peace of mind.

Let’s start using our superpower right now, let’s choose positivity.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā*

*Dhamma Tāpasā is a trained former Buddhist Monk and the spiritual name given to Andrew Hallas. An inspirational teacher of mindfulness and meditation techniques through the art of storytelling. Dhamma Tāpasā is able to capture our imaginations whilst teaching us valuable moral principles and deepening our understanding of the human consciousness and the everyday problems we face.

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