Noble Living, Noble Caring, Noble Dying

Meditation To Reduce Caregiver Stress

When you are a caregiver sometimes there are additional stresses on your energy. The demands can become greater than your energies and you can become imbalanced. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help reduce caregiver stress. It can easily reconnect you with yourself, and with your own needs. Staying healthy as a caregiver is very important. Meditation can ease anxiety, reduce stress, and build and restore your energies and resilience. It also increases your understanding, your compassion as a caregiver, and provides overall balance to you.

Reducing Caregiver Stress Meditation

This practice is about 7 minutes. The meditation practice can be done at any time of the day that works for you. See if you can find a space, a place that is quiet and where you can have some privacy.

Now, bring your attention to your motivation: your motivation to relax, let go, to find strength, and vitality. Your motivation to do this for yourself and for others who may be feeling caregiver stress.

There are three parts of meditation practice, your posture, your breath, and your thoughts. As you mediate you can learn to bring mindfulness awareness to all three and to find calm and ease through meditation. You can actually begin to let go of the cares of the day and to relax.

The practice of meditation begins with loving-kindness to ourselves. We connect with our heart! So, let’s begin with posture. Find a comfortable place to sit, on a cushion, or in a chair or you can lie down if you need to. Take a few moments just to stretch, to lift your shoulders up, and let them down, and then settle.

Sit in the center of your chair or your cushion. Sit with an open heart and a strong back. Rest your palms gently on your thighs. You can either leave your eyes gently open, looking slightly down or close your eyes gently—whatever works best for you. We pay attention and are awake. We are practicing wakefulness. So take a few moments to settle into your seat and take your seat with dignity. Settle in your seat.

Breath: Begin by paying attention to your breath. (GONG) Take a few moments to listen to the gong, and let your breath be your anchor that you can return to, the anchor is your breath. Bring your awareness to your breath as you breathe in and exhale, letting go. Breathing in gently, and breathing out, steady and gentle. Breathing practice helps to train us in letting go, to relax and unwind.

Even if you can only focus on your breath for a few moments it will help you to destress. Our breath is always changing, flowing, as you breathe in and out, staying present. Just breathe.

Thinking: Be present: pay attention on purpose to the present, no judgment. When your mind wanders, just bring your attention to your breath, and feel your breath, allowing it to flow easily in and easily out.

Coming back to your breath, let go.

Breathe in and relax, restore on your in-breath.

If you feel tension, clear the mind. Let go of any distress.

Breathing in, breathing out, gentle flow, each breath restoring.

No judgement. Making friends with yourself.

Now take a few moments to bring your posture, breath and thoughts together in your meditation practice. Relax into the present moment.

You can say these words:

May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. (repeat 3 times)

Wishing this for all beings, to be happy, to be well, to be safe.

Restore through your breath, through relaxation, reminding yourself to care for yourself.

Open, aware, awake. Just sitting.

Practice being gentle, soft, and kind to yourself. Feel all of the blessings, and benefit from them.

As you listen to the gong, let go, destress. Caring for yourself.

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.