Meditation Practices for Befriending

Mend relationships, move forward. Try these two practices. 

This is something we can all relate to: relationships that aren’t quite comfortable, perhaps beyond discomfort. These relationships can leave us feeling vulnerable, or overwhelm us with negative thoughts and feelings. We might have already decided that an individual is not worth our time, or perhaps we think that’s how they feel about us.

Beyond the noble call to be compassionate, we know it’s in our best interest to get past these thoughts and feelings. The negativity.

Two Befriending Practices

1. The Befriending Meditation: from the authors of Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Dr. Mark Williams and Dr. Danny Penman present this 10-minute practice to bring us closer to ourselves and others.

2. Elisha Goldstein, a clinical psychologist and Mindful’s “On Mental Health” blogger, introduces us to the “Just Like Me” practice. By holding a particular person in our minds and remembering that they are just like us, Goldstein explains, the practice can “prime your mind to seeing the connection that can lead to healing and well-being.”

In a recent interview with Mirabai Bush, a long-time mindfulness practitioner who has worked with major US companies like Google and Monsanto to bring mindfulness into their offices, Goldstein asked Bush to suggests a practice for improving relationships at work. Mirabai provided her take of the “Just Like Me” practice:

“One powerful practice that we call “Just Like Me” is usually learned in pairs, so that each person is looking in the eyes of their partner and silently repeating phrases spoken by a meditation leader about the person across from them: “Just like me, this person has known physical pain. Just like me, this person has done things she regrets. Just like me, this person wants to be happy….” and so on. This compassion practice is designed to shift perspectives and deepen the understanding that we human beings are similar in important ways, no matter how vast our differences. We all need food, and shelter, and love.”

So, two takes on the “Just Like Me” practice are offered here. Please share your thoughts and impressions on the practice.


Photo © McGee