The 5 Stages of Compassion Meditation

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At some point, I realized that I wanted others to stop suffering for my own convenience—their pain was too much for me and threatened my own “peace and quiet." This realization awakened me to my lack of capacity to sit with 'what is' and my temptation to want to fix things in advance. These compassion meditation practices have helped immensely.

Season 2 of Heartful will break down the five stages of compassion meditation before putting them all together in the final practice. The primary practice is tuning our attention directly to the point of suffering and holding steady.

First we ground. Episode 2 guides us towards the sensation of stable generosity. Feeling held is essential to being able to hold.

Stage 1: See Your Suffering

In Episode 3, we start with seeing our own suffering. By allowing our focus to stay on sensations in the body, we resist the temptation to check out into the story and be carried away.

Stage 2: See The Suffering of a Loved One

In Episode 4, we endeavor to see and hold the suffering of a loved one. One of the most heartbreaking facts is how little we can do for each other. The miracle that can result from simply witnessing allows us to always help.

Stage 3: See a Stranger's Suffering

In Episode 5, we increase our circle of concern through inviting a stranger into our meditation. As we discovered in Season 1, it is difficult to care about someone whose life does not seem to directly affect us. This practice helps loosen some of these self-centered boundaries of concern.

Stage 4: See an Enemy's Suffering

In Episode 6, we reach across our borders and extend our witnessing towards the suffering of a perceived enemy. Suffering is universal and the more intimately we know this, the less personal the actions of others become.

Stage 5: See the Suffering of the Cosmos

In Episode 7, we practice expanding our witnessing out to a larger region, maybe as large as the cosmos.

In Episode 8, we combine the five steps for a longer meditation. The result is a feeling of stable attention and capacity to meet anything.

Thank you Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo for planting these teachings in my heart and encouraging my daily watering.

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About the Author

Kira Sloane

Kira is fascinated by the study of what Is and loves to examine the ordinary every day miracles.


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