Caring is integral to mindfulness – we pay attention in the moment with care and curiosity. We can learn to care for others through loving kindness meditation as well as learn to care for ourselves through self-compassion.
Diana Winston provides a meditation podcast on the subject of mindfulness and care and stresses the need to care for ourselves as well as for others. She suggests that people often discount or devalue their inner experience or feelings and yet be consumed by care for others.
Diana asks an important question to enable us to be mindful about caring – her question is, “What or whom do you care for”. For whom do you express care and concern – a son or daughter, partner, friend or people suffering adversity. How wide is your circle of care and how deeply do you care?
These are challenging questions because they raise the issue of how often we express care and concern for others – how generous and expansive is our caring? How many people do we let into our lives through concern, considerateness and thoughtfulness?
Caring through mindfulness
Caring can be the focus of our meditation once we have become grounded through placing our feet on the ground, adopting a restful position with our body (and especially our hands) and taking a few deep breaths.
Our concern and care of our body can then be expressed through a progressive body scan and relaxation of points of tension. Focus on our breathing will assist us to pay attention to the theme of caring as mindful breathing steadies our mind and enables us to concentrate.
We can focus on an individual and express care for that person and tap into what it feels like to express this care – is the feeling one of warmth, love or genuine concern for their welfare? How is this care manifested in our body?
We can also express appreciation for the fact that we do care for others and take the time to express that care in words and actions. We can acknowledge that it is a gift to be able to be sensitive to others and their needs – to move beyond self-absorption to concern for others.
As we grow in mindfulness through caring meditation our circle of care and concern widens and deepens, and we are able to more readily extend care to ourselves.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of MabelAmber on Pixabay
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