This Difficult Thing of Being Human

The Art of Self-Compassion – Bodhipaksa

10/10 – A relatable and pleasurable read, punctuated with simple practices.

Read more here.

In January I read The Art of Self-Compassion by Bodhipaksa. The title is enough of an invitation for me, it is a difficult thing to be human. And as Bodhipaksa says in the book, it is indeed a miracle that we are here despite everything that has been thrown at us along the way.

This book was a very practical and clearly written account of how self-compassion practices can be brought into our day to day lives. Whilst mindfulness grounds us in the present moment, compassion practices teach us skills in how to turn towards our experiences and the experiences of others, particularly our suffering. This then gives us a greater capacity to manage and support ourselves to respond wisely to the challenges and stresses we face within our lives.

Bodhipaksa describes the four steps to self-compassion being

  1. Recognising that we are suffering,
  2. Dropping our reactive story,
  3. Mindfully accepting and observing whatever painful feelings are present, and
  4. Offering compassion and reassurance to the part of us that is suffering.

You’ll find step by step practices that introduce the compassion practices that support the cultivation of kindness to improve wellbeing. You can read through them and lead yourself, or listen to the practices with the website links he shares in the book. He has, in my opinion a beautiful voice to listen to, a soft lilting Scottish accent, this made being guided a pleasure.

Bodhipaksa is a Scottish Buddhist living in the US, he shares many of his own painful stories as examples which are both moving and inspiring and make for a very relatable read. You can read more about Bodhipaksa here where you’ll find guided practices.

I have very much appreciated the additional resources from this book not only for my work but also my home practice. I would definitely recommend it to others.

Josephine is a Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) trained Occupational Therapist with 20 years experience in the mental health and addictions field. Mindfulness and CFT act as the basis for the meditation based ateliers and are aimed at supporting the development of her clients wellbeing. If you are interested in attending a session with or accessing materials online please send an email to Josephine via or explore her website

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