So far, one of my favorite meditations is entitled, “Not Causing Harm.”
In this meditation, Pema says, “Learning not to cause harm to ourselves or others is a basic Buddhist teaching. Nonaggression has the power to heal. Not harming ourselves or others is the basis of enlightened society.”
These words struck a chord with me because, whenever I’ve heard the phrase, “do no harm” I always think of it in relation to a client or patient – not to myself.
I’ve never thought, “Rachel, do no harm to yourself.”
However, I love the idea of considering what it looks like to extend this oath to myself as well. Therapists are often really good (a bit too good) at thinking of the other person. We are often caretakers of friends and family. Our loved ones routinely depend on us to be empathic, understanding, and loving.
But I’ve found that it can be difficult to attribute this same kindness and gentleness to myself. This was especially true for me pre-pandemic. I would run myself pretty ragged with a packed schedule and very (very) little time for rest.
This year has been transformative for me in a few different ways. Working from home allowed me to put a lot less pressure on myself to look a certain way, extend myself beyond my energy level, or engage in relationships that weren’t serving me.
I’m beginning to learn how to care for myself with empathy, understanding, and gentleness. In short, I’m learning to do no harm to myself.
How does this land with you? Are you doing harm to yourself in any way?
Or are you talking gently to yourself, allowing yourself plenty of time for rest, and surrounding yourself with people who care about you?
From now on, when I hear the phrase, “do no harm” I’m going to include myself in the equation. I’m going to use this oath as a reminder that I’m worthy of all the things I would want a client to feel – acceptance, gentleness, and empathy.
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, feel free to respond here and let me know.