In this sneak peek from our Spring 2019 issue, renowned holistic coach Alison Canavan talks about the importance of cultivating compassion for ourselves as part of our meditation practice. You can read the full article by picking up a copy of the magazine or subscribing here.
Why self-love during meditation is important
by Alison Canavan
There is a common misconception that meditation means clearing the mind and stopping our thoughts. The reality couldn’t be further from this. It’s impossible to stop your thoughts if you are a living being, but what is possible is to become an observer of them.
Observing your thoughts – but not becoming involved in them – is a key part of mindfulness meditation practice. It’s called a ‘practice’ for a reason because there is no end goal. No perfect meditator exists, as every time you sit down, the experience is different. Your practice reflects real life, and just like real life, things are changing all the time. We change and grow every day, but it’s how we show up in these moments that determines how we feel about life, and also about ourselves.
Our inner world is complex and complicated. The world does not lend itself to self-reflection and silence. In fact, we are constantly being pulled away from ourselves, which is why a lot of people experience anxiety when they begin to practice mindfulness meditation. One of my mentors from UCLA, Rebecca Peters once said to me:
‘Mindfulness not met with self-compassion causes anxiety.’
This sentence changed everything for me and it makes so much sense.