Mitre or Metta as the Buddhist Dharma encapsulates is the practice of loving kindness. In a nutshell along with some other practices like compassion, joy and equanimity this is all we need to be happy.
So how can we practice loving kindness in our daily life, firstly to ourselves?
1) Patience: Be patient with yourself. This is the number one way to give yourself a break. If you find yourself getting irritated at some behaviour you are trying to change call up some loving patience and give yourself some time. Not everything will change for you the way you want it instantly. That’s why yoga is a practice, not a perfect.
2) Catch your negative self talk: I don’t consider myself a ‘perfectionist’ but I have a rather fanciful way of always seeking the gold star when it comes to yoga.Sometimes after a class that I have taught I start. ‘Oh why did I say that, what an idiot’ ‘everyone must think I’m an idiot’ ‘I’m definitely losing it’ ‘no one enjoyed that class’. I’ve got lots of those records and once they start they keep on playing, louder and louder.
3) Don’t be so harsh on yourself: …..If you eat that extra biscuit, don’t do yoga for a day, don’t do anything for a day, miss a deadline, miss an appointment, stuff up at work. Buddhist teachings refer to this feeling of disappointment in yourself as the ‘second arrow’. The first arrow is the original problem, the second arrow that you point at yourself is the added suffering you bring when you beat yourself up.
4) Examine your self discipline: If you have a rigorous diet, an over the top exercise routine or a must do it or I’ll die approach to your life, consider this. Routine and habit are great to a certain extent. Imposing discipline on yourself is a form of control. How about stepping back and asking yourself ‘what is my intention?’ If it is to maintain control then maybe it is not the right reason. A kinder approach is to eat well, exercise for the joy of it and sometimes let the life you are trying to conduct, conduct you.
5) Meditate on the spot: If any of the above arise, impatience, negative self talk, harshness or a desire to control yourself say, ‘May I be well, may I be happy, may I be free from harm and enjoy happiness.’
Practice for today: Post a message somewhere you can see it that reminds you to be kind to yourself. Here are the words of Frank Jude Boccio.
Waking this day I smile
A brand new day is before me
I aspire to live each moment mindfully
and to look upon all living beings
with the eyes of kindness and compassion
may you, and all other beings be happy and free from suffering.