First Invite Love In - Selections

40 Time-Tested Tools for Creating a More Compassionate Life

First Invite Love In

Laying the Foundation for a Compassionate Life

Prior to each day’s compassion practice, take a few minutes to mentally dwell in a space of love. Doing so will help you have the spiritual and emotional wherewithal to practice feeling more compassionate toward others without feeling drained. This is a crucially important part of the practice. Please don’t skip it!

Detailed Instructions

1. Bring to mind someone with the capacity for profound love, compassion, and peace of mind. This might be a person in your life, someone you know. Perhaps it is your mother or father, an aunt or an uncle, grandparents, a teacher, a good friend. Or it could be a divine, religious, or historical figure that you admire: Mother Teresa; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha; the Virgin Mary; God; Allah; or Jesus. Whoever this person may be, bring them clearly into your mind.

2. Now imagine that person’s mind is entirely focused on filling you with a feeling of love and peace. Imagine that their intention is to transfer their ability to feel peace, love, compassion, and kindness into your mind. They want to pour their own ability into your mind, into your heart.

3. Think that they do so without any judgment or requirement of you. There is no possibility of criticism. There is no expectation of how quickly or even if you will ever be able to receive this. Imagine that they are completely filled with this feeling of wanting to pour this ability to feel compassion into you, but there is no expectation of whether you will be able to receive this or how you will respond.

4. Imagine also that they have absolutely perfect concentration on maintaining only thoughts of profound love in their minds, and only thoughts of transferring this capacity of profound love into you. So they are not thinking about other people, other problems to solve, anything else.

5. This is completely pure, unconditional love, beaming into you with unbroken concentration for as long as you might need it. Pause and think about that for a moment.

6. Now open your mind to the idea of receiving this love and having your mind become the same as this vast, loving, and peaceful mind that is contemplating you. Just imagine that it is possible.

7. Now mentally ask the envisioned being to help transform your mind into a mind filled with profound love. Imagine saying whatever you might say to ask for this kind of love from this being. Really picture yourself making this request.

8. Then imagine that they respond to your request for help with pleasure and happiness. They are very glad you asked and are delighted to help you. Imagine the words that they would say back to you.

9. Imagine that your spiritual support figure creates a protective sphere around you where nothing disruptive or adverse can enter, harm, or distract you during this meditation.

10. Now form an intention or create an aspiration that at some point in time, with practice, your mind will come to mirror the mind of love you have envisioned, your mind will be as loving and compassionate as the mind of the person you are imagining. Say to yourself that you have the intention of developing a mind of greater compassion and kindness.

11. Scan your body and mind and let go of any tension or anxiety you feel as if a fist lets go and opens into a relaxed and open hand. Just let the muscles go. Let the inner tension go. Just let it go.

12. Transfer your attention to what is going on in your mind. Let any thoughts you have slip away as if they were clouds passing in the sky above or bubbles rising and evaporating into the air. Don’t follow your thoughts. They are there, but just let them pass by. Don’t grab on to any of them and there’s no need to push them away, either. Just let them go for a while. It’s okay to have them; you can’t stop them. But let them rise on up and by.

13. Bring to mind the sum-total of everything you have ever en- joyed, desired, or found pleasing. Then focus on a few things that you especially like—they could be food, experiences, relationships, objects. Then relax your grip on these thoughts and imagine them floating up and out of your mind and eventually disappearing entirely into the sky without a trace. You can let them go for just a little while so we can clear some mental space to contemplate new ways of thinking and feeling.

14. Now that you have taken a few of these thoughts that are pleasing to you, gather more and more of them together. Everything that you have ever really loved, wished you had, or do have and really enjoy. Just let them rise up and out. Let go of them for a while.

15. In the same way and for the same reason bring to mind your negative thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Think of some things that make you angry, experiences of things that you do not like, any bumpy, muddy, disruptive feelings. Imagine that they drop away from you and your mind is clear of them.

16. Now gather up all of your negative emotions, thoughts, and feelings and things that you really dislike, and imagine that they are magically rendered insubstantial and harmless; imagine they drop away from you in one quick motion, sinking deep into the earth, in a way that doesn’t harm the earth and leaving no trace or residue in your mind.

17. Imagine you have a clear mind now. There is nothing you desire. Nothing you are avoiding or disliking. No thoughts that you are running after. No tension gripping in your body.

18. Imagine that all of your pores open to receive the loving mindset of the person or being that you imagine is contemplating you. So they all gently open up. You are quite relaxed. Imagine that your spiritual support figure is protecting you and has made it completely safe to open up like this.

19. Think that you can invite and receive the mindset of the loving being you have envisioned through a point between the eyebrows often called the third eye. Lower your eyes and relax them. Feel the area between your eyebrows gently opening. Then shift your point of perception as if you could see through this window between your eyebrows. You can see the loving being who is contemplating you and who has the intention and the wish to pour their ability to have a compassionate and peaceful and kind mindset into your mind. Imagine that this third eye is especially designed to see and receive peaceful loving thoughts and energy.

20. See the loving being who is contemplating you with unbroken perfect concentration. Experience their profound love and compassion for you with no expectation. You can see this being through this third eye; you have opened all the pores in your body and can receive this loving being’s mindset into yourself in this way.

21. Don’t strain to maintain this visualization. Don’t strain to look or use any effort in any way to actively draw anything into yourself. Just relax and trust. Open yourself up.

22. Perceive the being and allow yourself to receive.

23. Let your mind become one and the same with the loving and peaceful presence you have envisioned.

As you go through the central compassion practice, imagine that the spiritual being you have envisioned is doing a high-level version of it in the most perfect, effortless, and serene manner as a way to support you. Imagine that they pour a never-ending stream of spiritual support into you so that you will have all the emotional and spiritual resources you need to do these mental exercises well and without feeling drained in any way.

Bring to mind your spiritual support figure. Feel their unconditional love beaming into you with perfect concentration for as long as you need. Ask for their help in transforming your mind and see them respond joyfully and happy to help. Aspire to a mind of greater compassion and kindness. Clear your mind and body of distraction, tension, desire, and aversion. Shift your point of perception to your third eye and imagine that you can see and receive your spiritual support figure’s state of mind through that portal. Think that your spiritual support figure performs a high-level version of whatever compassion practice you are following, in order to support you.