You’ve been emotionally wounded, just as we all have or will be in our fates as human beings. The deepest wounds leave us with scars of sensitivity and reactivity that amplify the difficulties of life. Fear, grief, agony, despair, fury, guilt, shame, humiliation - these aftershocks of hardship or trauma get locked into the memories of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. We do our best to forget, distract, and/or anesthetize ourselves from the hauntings of our wounds. Until we’re ready to heal.
Bar none, the most effective remedy for emotional healing is compassion. Compassion is needed in all those cavities where suffering resides. And as with physical wounds, emotional wounds need to be exposed in order for a healing antidote to be administered. Yikes! - every fiber of our being may react with alarm at the prospect of revisiting these wounds. We don’t want to break down, blow up, or be derailed by reawakening their miseries. Sometimes the safe guidance of a therapist or loved one who knows the territory is necessary to do this with. Sometimes the healing journey is a solo one. This is a healing meditation you can do on your own that will help channel the power of compassion to those places within you where it is most needed.
Begin by picturing a loved one in great suffering. Perhaps it’s a fragile infant, child, or teenager, or maybe an older person. They may suffer from illness, injury, heartbreaking loss, violence, abuse, neglect, betrayal, or some other trauma. Imagine what that person must be feeling and thinking by putting yourself in their shoes for a moment. Let this empathy awaken your compassion for them, then imagine expressing that compassion through your words, eyes, facial expression, and touch. Help them realize that you understand their suffering and that you love them unconditionally. Sense how they are comforted by your empathy and compassion. Feel how this emotional exchange creates an intimacy between your hearts. Notice how this connection opens their heart, eases their pain, comforts their mind, and releases tension from their body.
Now think of someone in your life who has a compassionate heart. It might be a family member, lover, dear friend, or other caregiver you’ve known. It might be a God, savior, or angel you have faith in. They might be alive or exist only in spirit. Any being you can trust completely with the depths of your pain. Someone possessing unconditional love, wisdom, understanding, and acceptance. Imagine asking for their help to heal your pain.
Now imagine opening the door to your wounds. Give that compassionate being access to the memories, emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations of your suffering. Sense their understanding, empathy and compassion. Allow their unconditional love into all those places in your mind, heart, and body where it’s needed. Take time to feel the compassion dissolve your pain and replace it with comforting reassurance. Let the power of the compassion release all judgments surrounding your pain. Listen for the words your heart needs to hear. See their love for you in their eyes and face. You have offered compassion to a loved one and now it is your turn to receive it. Absorb the compassion fully, letting it reach the deepest recesses of your pain like warm sunlight streaming into all the cold, dark rooms of an abandoned house. Use the compassion to release any judgments that are hurting you. Use the compassion to receive or offer any forgiveness that’s needed to heal. Imagine filling a large bath with the warm water of this compassion and allow yourself to soak in this healing bath whenever you need to.
Compassion is not only healing but contagious. The more we allow ourselves to receive it, the more we are moved to share it with others in turn. Compassion is a profound gift we all must exchange to help us endure and recover from the agonies of life. It is not to be earned or deserved - only requested, offered, and received without strings. The tears and fears of a newborn, someone facing death, and those who’ve lost a loved one awaken our compassion most. These vulnerabilities are universal. In between birth and death we learn to conceal our vulnerabilities and project our strength, which often interferes with our access to compassion. Find the safety, trust, and courage you need to seek and receive compassion where you need it most.
If you’ve had a positive response to this meditation, then you’ve discovered that compassion can be circulated entirely within yourself. This capacity to feel, express, and receive compassion grows with repetition. It’s a wonderful gift to share with others and cultivate internally. Self compassion is not something that we are taught, but we need to learn. Self judgment is what we are taught, but we need to replace with compassion. Repeating this meditation will teach you to think, feel, and relate to others and yourself in more healing ways.