Benefits of self-CARE meditation

I’m not a ritual meditator. I don’t wake up and sit down to my 30 minutes of morning meditation and tick it off my daily to-do list. Sometimes I do, but not ritually.

I sit down to meditate specifically when I need to. When I’m feeling a sense of stuckness or mental fog. When I can sense anxiety, of known or unknown origin. When I’m feeling easily distracted, which is typically the early warning signs of future addictive behaviour and yearning for a dopamine hit to make me feel better about the lack I’m feeling about myself.

There are many reasons, but let’s just put them all into the one bucket and call it dis-ease. When I’m not at ease, I’m unsettled and not in my natural state of flow and gratitude.

Over the years I’ve learned to identify the signs of this sense of dis-ease. I can tell when something’s a little amiss within me. Sometimes, I can feel myself overthinking or noisy in my head and I know I’m not grounded. When I’m like this I’m at risk of missing something important or of not listening to the people close to me. I start talking a bit faster as if what I’ve got to say is the truth as opposed to just a perspective. I become quick to talk and slow to listen.

Sometimes it turns up in my body. I might feel tightness in my hamstrings or in my lower back. In my forearms for example, when they are tight, I stop to consider that I might be holding onto something too tightly. I might be trying to force an outcome, when patience and a possible new direction might be required, if I’m open to listening and observing instead of pushing.

It might be in my hamstrings. I can often feel a bit of anger or frustration when I have tightness in my hamstrings, glutes and lower back. When I get these little physical tells, I know it’s time for me to just stop for a moment and to clear that emotional baggage. When I clear my emotional baggage, I can return to a state of balance, flow and gratitude which enables objectivity and creativity.

How then do I get to that state on demand? This is precisely what the self-CARE meditation enables.

How does the self-CARE meditation clear your emotional baggage?

This approach enables freedom from attachment to ideas of self that are circular and restrictive. It is grounded in the cognitive-behavioural assumption that thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, are precursors to emotion and behaviour. These thoughts leave emotional residue, so when you can feel this residue, whether the emotion itself or its physical markers, you can learn to recognize the self-limiting thought that preceded it. By first clearing the emotion and consequently releasing the bond your self-critical thoughts hold on you, you can choose a fresh and empowering perspective from which to view yourself. In this space, I don’t feel an attachment or a sense of lack or a longing. I’m able to sit where I am, with a sense of freedom and connection in the present moment.

The importance of preparing the mind before practice

I’ve touched on a few of the things that require some understanding prior to practicing the self-CARE meditation to be able to experience its full benefit. By preparing your mind ahead of the practice of this form of meditation, you make available a space for becoming immersed in a sense of gratitude which opens you up to a whole new way of perceiving the world. Without preparation, the physical and emotional experience that the mediation evokes can be difficult for the trainee to process appropriately. It can occur fearfully as the change in one’s perception can be quite dramatic.

Design of the program

The program is layered to enable our minds and perspective to gently shift such that we are sufficiently open to receiving the benefits of the meditation practice.

The first module focuses on self-compassion. By learning to practice self-compassion, we create a slight opening in our minds for a future perspective that is different from our past. Cutting ourselves some slack softens any judgements we might bring when seeing ourselves more honestly when move into training our self-awareness.

The second module is aimed at expanding our self-awareness. Self-awareness enables us to observe our thoughts and emotions dispassionately, opening us to new perspectives.

The third module builds on our self-compassion and self-awareness and helps us to regulate our responses based on our new capacity for perspective. Self-regulation is where we see shifts in our behaviour.

The final module is self-expression. Our expression will come through the paradox of confidence and humility. Your ego is now observable. A tool you can rely on to achieve certain outcomes, but no longer your controlling self.

Once you have completed the program, you will be ready to practice the self-CARE meditation and to use it as an emotional reset button on-demand.  

Self-Compassion Quiz

This quiz is a good measure of self-compassion. It will appear again at the end of the course. 

Q1. When I fail at something important to me I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy.

Q2. I try to be understanding and patient towards those aspects of my personality I don’t like.

Q3. When something painful happens I try to take a balanced view of the situation.

Q4. When I’m feeling down, I tend to feel like most other people are probably happier than I am.

Q5. I try to see my failings as part of the human condition.

Q6. When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.

Q7. When something upsets me I try to keep my emotions in balance.

Q8. When I fail at something that’s important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure

Q9. When I’m feeling down I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong.

Q10. When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people.

Q11. I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies.

Q12. I’m intolerant and impatient towards those aspects of my personality I don’t like.