Mental health, stress management

Restoring Your Broken Heart With Mindful Self-Compassion

Speaking with a friend recently, he shared about the Shambala Buddhist concept of the Rising Sun. The sun rising in the East symbolizes goodness coming into being, light overtaking the dark.
I particularly like this imagery when I think of the sun as our inner being, the inner light, presence, or true nature. We know that the sun doesn’t really rise or set, it is the earth that spins around the sun, so that we do not see the light during the night. In the same way, our inner light is always present – it is our thoughts that spin us around and around, causing us to lose awareness of that light, our true nature, and we experience confusion and darkness.

From my own experience with heartbreak, and as a divorce life coach helping people move through heartbreak and stress management, I have witnessed my own and my clients’ times of feeling lost and in the dark. The light at the center of our being always glows warmth and goodness, but sadly, we don’t always feel it. In times of heartbreak, there can be so much mental agitation and upset that it seems the mind might not ever stop spinning, and you can feel trapped in the darkness.

Adopting daily mindfulness practices can help with mental strength and waking up from the spinning long enough to see the sun, at least momentarily. And that can make all the difference in how you feel.

We each have that sun inside, the shining star of basic goodness. We may not be able to live in the brightness of the sun all the time, but we can train in mindfully remembering that the sun is always there, shining, even when we can’t see it or feel it.

Mindful Practice: As with most mindfulness practices, this one starts with slowing down, taking some time to relax. One way to do this is to breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths while relaxing your body. Then when feeling a bit of relief from the breathing, focus on bringing compassion to your own suffering. You can do this by tapping into a time when you felt compassion for a loved one, and allow yourself to enhance that feeling into your own heart. Or you may want to use a mantra that is easy to remember so that even if you are not feeling compassionate, it will prompt kindly and loving feelings. Something like, “What I am going through is difficult and in this moment I choose to be gentle with myself.” Or, “I will be gentle with my process right now.” Another is, “It’s OK to be me, to be human. I will get through this.” Or simply touch into some appreciation for yourself and your willingness to bring kindness and mindfulness to your life.

You will find that compassion opens your heart and brings awareness to your true nature of basic goodness. Self-compassion is one of the best salves you can apply to your pain in each moment that you remember to do so. It soothes the weary mind and comforts the heart.

You may at first feel it’s a weakness to be loving and gentle with yourself, but that is old programming and will not serve you in times like heartbreak that brings mental stress. Self Compassion is the path to your inner light, where you will reconnect with your real power, your inner being. It is from this connection that you can face your challenges with courage and clarity. That inner truth is what will guide you on your journey through mindful heartbreak and beyond. Abiding in awareness of our true nature is the one true refuge during difficult times and in building our mental toughness.

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