Written by Tracy Levett-Jones, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare … caring for others requires caring for oneself.
Tenzin Gyatson, the 14th Dalai Lama
During this time of uncertainly, many people are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, restless and unsettled. The increased isolation required as a result of COVID-19 can also lead to a sense of loneliness. Mediation is a strategy that can help us regain a sense of perspective at this challenging time.
Meditation is a state of profound, deep peace that occurs when the mind is silent yet alert. It is a tool for developing mindfulness by allowing us to focus on the present moment. Meditation is not ‘turning off’ our feelings, but instead, observing them without judgement.
There are many types of meditation, including for example, Transcendental Meditation, Tibetan meditation, Zen, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and mindfulness meditation, sometimes referred to as Vipassana. However, loving-kindness meditation is believed to have the most impact on a person’s capacity for empathy and compassion for self and others.
Access the Virtual Empathy Museum’s Meditation Room for examples of loving kindness meditations and other web resources about mindfulness and meditation.
Meditation is not just for relaxation; its primary purpose is to develop the capacity to respond skillfully and gracefully to life’s difficulties as well as it’s joys.
Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche, Buddhist Dzogchen master