Saturday, October 9, 2010

Powerful Exercise for Being Happier & More Compassionate Towards Yourself

Wow, I had a really powerful experience/exercise tonight and I wanted to share it because I think it will be helpful to a lot of people in some way or another...

The exercise immediately brought an old, pretty private, journal entry to mind and I thought I’d start there since it shows what the exercise is for and the place where I used to be back then, and know from experience a lot of people are there. Then I'm going to talk about my experience last night, followed by instructions for the exercise (so you can scroll freely). I wrote this journal entry at the very beginning of my “Dark Night” when I was 24 (I'm 28 now) and I’m sharing (unedited) because I think that’s why entries and experiences like these come through:


The depths of my soul can be really scary to explore. If on the surface I seem complex, then I don’t think there is even a word to describe what’s underneath.

I have a happy disposition towards life but can be prone to sadness at times. Sadness usually takes over me when I’ve let myself down or am not happy with something about myself. Or when things are out of my control.

I learned early on how to thwart such sadness. Any time I feel myself plunging into such a state, I like to pull out a journal and start analyzing what about me I’m not happy with and start listing all the areas of myself I’d like to improve. From character, to sense of humor, to education, to new talents, to the physical. I make my list and then write out the steps I will take to get there. After this exercise, I always feel much better. Even if my original state of sadness had nothing to do with myself. Just gaining control over something and having a plan for improving it makes me feel better. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s almost an obsession with bettering myself and striving for perfection. And as long as I think that I’m going to be a better person in the future, then I feel better.

Today I found myself plunging into a deep state of sadness. Because of a small, insignificant event. Someone I care about slighted me. I felt negative feelings rising up within me. A strong dislike for him growing.

I plunged further and locked myself up in the bathroom, bursting into tears.

For no reason really.

Except an insignificant guy.

I glanced in the bathroom mirror and tried to focus on my new perfect teeth. I never got to go to the dentist as a kid due to lack of money. As a result I never got the braces I needed and I had chipped teeth from the playground days that had never been fixed. Upon graduation from law school, I worked with a dentist to try to correct all the problems. My teeth are finally fully corrected. So I stared at them. Trying to smile and focusing on how much better they looked. They’re perfect. But instead I found myself staring at the new sun spots and freckles on my face. I’ve been in the sun way too much.

I stared at myself and felt ugly.

Maybe if I get more beautiful……

I reminded myself that I now had enough money get sunspots and freckles lasered off if they really bothered me. “Its not a big deal J. They’ll be gone in a few months if you want. Make up can fully cover them til then. It’s not a big deal. You can call a doctor tomorrow.”

Maybe once I get the freckles and sun damage removed……..

I moved on to my hair. It’s not as long and full as I’d like. “You can get fancy hair extensions too. The bonded kind that don’t mess up your real hair. The kind that your industry friends have.”

“And you can get the pretty eyelash extensions that all your friends are getting as well. Those make everyone’s eyes look beautiful.”

Maybe when I get rid of my freckles, get hair and eye lash extensions….

That would be major improvements. I’ll definitely be prettier.

But that’s not enough. It wouldn’t be enough. What else? I stared more intently into the mirror.

Maybe if I lifted weights every day and lost the 10 lbs I’ve gained….

But before I gained the 10 lbs, that still wasn’t enough. So I know that losing 10 lbs won’t make me feel much better. That’s something that I need to do. But wouldn’t make a difference in me.

Suddenly my mind flashed back to our tour guide in Venezuela who had offered us “Health and Tourism” packages. He said he could take us to the Miss Universe surgeon as part of a tour package and we could get whatever done.

Maybe if I went back to Venezuela and came back looking like Miss Universe….

Would that be enough?

Suddenly I remembered that my most beautiful friends tend to be the ones with the major psychological problems and drug addictions, and that maybe I should focus more on improving my mind or internal things.

Maybe if I accomplish more……

Maybe once I get my first book published…..

Maybe once I get good at photography and get an exhibit going…..

Maybe when I travel the whole world…..

Maybe once I fully brush up on my history and philosophy…. When I can remember off the top of my head what Kant said, what Nietzsche said, what Aristotle said…..

Maybe once I learn to speak Portuguese and Italian. Then I’ll speak 5 languages…. That’s impressive.

Maybe if I learn to play the piano.

Maybe if I learned how to cook more dishes. International ones.

Maybe if I go back to Shao-Lin and finally get my black belt.

Maybe if I can get to the point where I never have a negative thought about anyone.

Maybe when I’m perfect.

Maybe what???

Who am I trying to be perfect for?

I never even meet men that I really like like that. One of my deep fears is that I’m never going to find anyone that I like enough to fall in love with.

So for what then? For who?

For myself?

Do I need to do all that to love myself?

But don’t I already love myself????

I mean there is no one I’d rather spend time with than myself.
I thoroughly enjoy my own company.
And I am sure that I’ve BEEN past all my insecurities.
And that I fully love and accept myself.

But then who is it that I’m striving to reach some level of perfection for?
Who is it that I’m trying to impress?
Who’s love is it that I’m trying to gain?
And if that someone doesn’t already love me without all said improvements,
Then is that person even worth all this struggle and work for perfection?
And if that person isn’t worth it………
What if that person is me?”


Years after dropping those behaviors, that entry flashed back into my head during an exercise tonight.

I work with the chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” every day. It’s the mantra used to invoke love, mercy and compassion, and has tons of benefits. It brings blessings of love and compassion from God, opens your heart, fills you with love and compassion, it can be used to shower other people with the same, and it has a “wish fulfilling” effect as well. It can be used in different ways, but I’ll talk about how I generally like to use it(actual instructions in section below w/pronunciation). I usually sit and visualize the people/things I’d like to send love to in front of me. I start with the whole earth, then family/friends, people who need love at the moment, anyone I feel upset towards, anyone I like a lot (to open my heart to them), etc. On the “OM” I visualize my heart as a big pink Lotus flower opening up completely, and on the “Mani” I start sending love from my open heart to the person. In between each chant I breathe in the blessings that always start to pour down immediately, being very receptive. Then I chant it again (usually at least 2 times per person/set of people).

This is super helpful for forgiving, particularly for people like me who are always WILLING to forgive people. I always want to forgive and think I do. But chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” towards someone always lets me know if I’m still holding something because my heart and chest suddenly feel tight and my heart doesn't feel fully open at first.

Well today out of nowhere, I decided to chant it towards myself. I had never thought of doing that before because as the channel of the blessings, you already receive them, so sending the blessings you are already receiving towards yourself seems unnecessary. But for some reason it’s just where my meditation went. And OMG.

I’ve never ever felt my heart get so hard and closed during this chant before. Ever. And I’ve used this chant on just about every person who has ever “wronged” me (serious things like rape included, and of course people like exes included). And my heart hadn’t been half as hard or as closed towards any of them. The second I that realization hit me, I immediately started crying. And the entry above flashed through my head as it sunk in that I was still holding the habit of being harder on myself than on anyone else, and that I don’t tend to treat myself with the same compassion/empathy I treat others. While I do love myself fully it was still easier for me to be more merciful towards others than towards myself. That’s not a fun realization but very true for many people. You tend to be your toughest critic and expect a perfection from yourself that you don't expect from others.

Watching my own heart slowly open up more and more towards myself with every repetition of the chant was kind of crazy. And it caused more tears (but healing tears) as I released all that junk from my heart. In between each chant, I accepted the love and compassion being showered upon me from God, and from myself. It was a very healing and awesome experience. And I’m now adding myself to my “Om Mani Padme Hum” list. It’s totally getting added to my 10-week program as a suggested every day practice starting from day one(hey, you’re getting it for free). Because not only does it open your heart towards others and fill you with peace, love and compassion, but it allows you to be more loving towards yourself and to let go of whatever you are holding against yourself.


1)Sit in a comfortable, quiet place. I like to keep my feet on the ground (helps ground the energy received).

2)If you need help with pronunciation, you can click on this video and go to the 16:10 min mark (this is exactly how I chant it): This practice for me has largely evolved from Pranic Healing practices.

3)Invoke for Divine Blessings and set your intention. You can pray to whoever you’d like, however you are invoking the more feminine aspect of God, so I’d suggest including the Divine Mother in one (or all) of her manifestations, particularly as the Buddha Quan Yin, or as the Virgin Mary (and/or any of her manifestations) if that resonates more with you. And ask for what you want to get out of this (blessing the planet, receive blessings in the form of ___, forgiving, etc.).

4)Place your hands on your lap, opened, palms up. Ready to receive, or release.

5)Close your eyes and visualize yourself standing directly in front of you.

6)Now chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” as you send yourself love and compassion. Start by inhaling in and allowing Divine Energy to enter your crown and flow down to your heart. On the “Om” visualize your heart as a big, Lotus flower opening up completely, and on the “Mani” start sending love from your open heart to yourself (visualize pink light coming out of your heart, project it towards the image of you in front of you and fully covering it). In between each chant, breathe in the blessings that immediately pour down through your crown and allow yourself to receive. Then chant it again as many times as you feel like chanting. I always repeat at least twice for everything. When doing it on yourself for the first time, I’d go with at least 10 times.

7)Before you chant to bless yourself, you can (and I’d suggest) chant to send love to your loved ones/other people. So do everything above, but while visualizing other people.

8)Give thanks for all the blessings, love, compassion, mercy, and whatever you asked for.


Funny, earlier this week I started taking a new course working with the energy of the Divine Feminine because I’m trying to put a big course together and this week I was focusing on the power of receptivity and allowing yourself to receive…. And I majorly picked up one thing from the first class (that was like a side note in the course)- She asked, “When was the last time you allowed yourself to be loved?” And that just really got me. while still sitting in the class I wrote a new affirmation, “I now completely allow myself to be loved.”

LOL, and at the same time, for the last couple of days I’ve had the song, “I really miss your hair on my face, and the way your innocence tastes,” stuck in my head NON-STOP. I had been thinking, “What in the world?? I don’t have anyone I miss! Why is it stuck in my head??” Granted I’m doing choreography to it (chosen by somebody else), but its never been stuck in my head all day long like that- and it was only those two lines. Then last night someone commented on how I attract a lot of men who will do a lot of crazy things for me. And I was about to complain that while I may attract a lot of really extravagant high-profile men/millionaires that other women might love, the nice, more down to earth guys that I’M actually into don’t seem to show much interest in me, but I stopped myself and instead said, “Okay this is a serious pattern. And I’d like to release it. What is in me that keeps attracting this pattern into my life?” I asked before I went to sleep and when I woke up this morning, guess what was the first thing in my head? The two lines above. I sighed in frustration but decided to reach for my iPod and see if there were any clues in it. I didn’t have to go too far…. LOL, the title read, “Better than Me.” The direct line following the 2 lines that were stuck in my head says, “And I think you should know this, you deserve much better than me.”

I thought “Wow. Hmmm…. So…… apparently I think the really nice guys I like deserve better than me. And I attract really high-profile guys that I’m not into like that in order to superficially feed my ego, but not get too involved. Because as I realized earlier this week, I haven’t been too comfortable with allowing myself to be loved. And its apparently tied to guilt I’m holding...”

And THAT would be the consequence of being harder on yourself than others and not showing yourself the same understanding.

That was this morning. Then this exercise happened tonight. Just some background to show how nothing is ever without meaning and how everything always ties together. Make sure you are open to the clues.