Self-empathy Meditation for Emotional and Soul Healing

This is the simplest way I have found to heal emotional wounds.

I call it the Emotional Self-Empathy Work or the Self-Empathy Mediation.

The steps are:


1. Set your timer for 20 minutes to start. Lie down flat on a comfortable, firm space in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Putting a towel or blanket on the floor is preferable to a bed or couch. You can try with your knees bent and feet on the floor or straight. Alternatively, you may also sit upright.

2. Allow yourself to feel into your body, breathing gently but in no specific pattern.

3. Bring your focus and attention to that which most attracts your attention, generally where there is the most pain, discomfort, or tightness.

4. Breathe deeply into that place and simply observe what happens.

5. As you do, somewhere else may get your attention. Just follow the discomfort. Your body may respond with movement or sound.

6. Allow your body to react or move as it wants. Don’t ‘think’ about what is happening. Just follow your body.

7. Continue breathing, focusing, and noticing until the timer goes off.

8. Journal about the sensory experience you have. In other words, write down the exact things you feel in your body during the experience. Such as:

“At first, I noticed some tightness in my chest which I breathed into. After awhile it loosened. Then I felt a pain on the right side of my neck. As I focused and breathed into it, it became more intense but then subsided. At this point, I was aware of a dull throbbing in my left temple….”

And so on. Simply *observe* what your senses are telling you, (mostly kinesthetic feelings generally). Focus on any tightness, pain, or discomfort especially.

Do not:

  • Analyze what is happening (I think it was because of my accident earlier)
  • Speak in generalities (I wasn’t really feeling comfortable)
  • Concern yourself with thoughts (I thought of my report that was due in an hour….) [unless they feel like ‘breakthrough insights’]
  • Look or comment on meaning (This must mean that I need to forgive my father)

Simple record your neutral, sensory observations.

All of those little aches and pains which we try to ignore (but which contain voluminous insights for us) will start making themselves known. As you move your attention to them, and breathe into these places–the content will come out which has been stored there.

This might not always be a pleasurable practice.

Much of what you feel is what has been repressed. It will consist of what many people would consider “negative” emotions. As these things come up, continue to breathe into them and give them presence and space. Your body might move by itself as the muscles and other tissues release energetic tension. Simply stay with the process, being with your body and the feelings and sensations, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

I started this mediation with an hour timer next to me. However, you can take as little as 20 minutes for this. I have had massive processing, results, and movement from this exercise in regular practice.

Note: There may be times when you do not feel able to release what needs to be released all alone. It may be that, in practicing this technique, you feel the need of some support of someone else, such as a friend or professional. In that case, take the intent of this Emotional Empathy Session into another type of healing session, where space is held for you.


Q: When you feel pockets of energy, stuck areas, etc, expressing themselves… you say to give them space. Does this involve screaming if that’s what happens, or raging, or crying, or beating cushions, or getting up and dancing, etc? Or are you suggesting to stay lying down and somewhat calmer?

A: You don’t need to *do* anything. The body will do what it needs to do…Generally that won’t be something as structured as the actions you are talking about.

But, don’t *stay* calm or still or anything else. Don’t repress the energy. Don’t identify with the energy either. Just let the energy be.

If you force anything with this meditation–such as banging on cushions or jumping around *too much*, what you are doing is avoiding what is here and now by pushing the energy further than it is naturally expressing–this is going into control. You do this because you feel you ‘can’t handle’ what is happening naturally. Just Breathe more! And deeper. As I said above, if you go too deeply into fear, have a Witness watch you so that you will feel protected regardless of what the Body does.

It must be non-“mind” directed. You will have to let go of control. Let the body feel and act on its wisdom.

Below I have written some about how this process works.

Details-Feelings and Emotions

To understand what is happening, let’s talk about the difference between feelings and emotions.

Feelings are what happen in the moment in the body when we experience something. Someone steps on our toe, we feel pain and we might get a brief flash of energy and push the person away (especially if she was wearing heels!).

Or we see a car coming straight at us and jump out of the way.

Feelings are very short–not more than about 10 seconds. Then they disappear. They are related directly to the moment.

Emotions, on the other hand extended emotional states that stem from (usually unresolved) past experience and result from triggering experiences in the present.

Feelings are a result of physical experiences in the now. Emotions are the result of thinking triggering the energy stored in the body from the past.

Often we think our emotions (mad, glad, sad, afraid) are some “physical thing” anchored in reality and completely separate from our mind.

They are not.

If you see a young woman slap an older man, what would you feel? What emotions might come up for you? Or if you say your partner kissing someone else? There might be a massive presence of strong emotion. Why? Because the mind has been able to come up with a judgment about this experience.

Because we don’t have very much information about why this is occurring in the present, the mind must refer to the past for this judgement.

And this past experience carries emotional energy. Since it was not expressed in the past, it gets carried into the present with often disastrous results. A small word can trigger a mountain of old content

Emotion is the thing that destroys an amazing relationship on the cusp of going deeper.

Emotion is what causes a person to quit right before achieving their dreams again and again and again.

Emotion is what makes us do every illogical, unproductive thing that moves us away from our goals and intent.

Thinking isn’t the way to resolve the problems caused by emotion. In this case, it is like asking the burglar to call the police.

So, how do we process our emotions?

There are many of techniques that people use–techniques that encourage “expressing” emotions such as forcing yourself to cry or beating pillows to access your anger.

In truth, none of these methods usually expresses or processes anything. They simply give you permission to feel what emotion is inside. After you have given yourself permission to feel these emotions, you are then able to process the emotion (via feeling/expressing it) in whatever way is necessary, and release the stored energy.

In other words, if you have given yourself permission to act angry, then you probably have given yourself permission to feel angry as well. And if you have done that, and you take space for yourself (which may involve asking someone else to help you as well) and you can process and release this emotion.

This technique is the simplest way I have found to heal emotional wounds.

I call it the Emotional Empathy  Session or the Self-Empathy Mediation.

Contact me if you have any questions using the contact form.

Ryan Orrock is an author and teacher of relating and sexuality. Contact him for a free chat about whether his work might be able to benefit your life.