Why do we call self-compassion a spiritual practice? It is a practice based on several of the spiritual principles found in the Twelve Steps, including honesty, hope, acceptance, awareness, forgiveness and discipline.
I have been surprised by the response of friends in the recovery community with their resistance to the idea of self-compassion. Their explanation is “self” involves ego. My experience on this recovery journey has taught me there is more than one way to look at self. Yes there is that part of self that involves ego and yet there is the Self described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous that is the “unsuspected inner resource,” which I consider to be my true Self. Compassion for myself and others comes from that part of Self.
The definition I use for self-compassion is from Kristin Neff. Her definition is “when we suffer, caring for ourselves as we would care for someone we truly love.” Self-compassion includes mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness. In simplest terms it is connecting with our true nature and caring for ourselves when we experience challenging times. For most of us this requires a change in our relationship with ourselves.
All three of these areas are essential to the practice of self-compassion. In this first blog I will focus on the role of mindfulness. Mindfulness is being present to what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it and without resistance. On average we have 60,000 thoughts a day and is it believed at least 80% of those thoughts involve the past or the future. Another challenge is our reptilian brain. It is designed to keep us safe, but it is 100% unconscious and has a negativity bias.
What can we practice to improve our ability to be present and not resist what it? Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. - by Ellie Hyatt