This Difficult Thing of Being Human


We all long for someone to offer us unconditional love and support. But what if that person is us? The practice of mindful self-compassion creates the space we need so that observation, acceptance, and real love can enter, no matter how judgmental or disconnected we may feel.

It sounds like a simple idea: to be kind to yourself. But if you pay attention to your thoughts, habits, and self-talk, you may find that it’s more difficult than it sounds. The intentional practice of self-compassion, outlined here by Buddhist scholar and teacher Bodhipaksa, can help you find greater overall wellbeing, emotional resilience, physical health, and willpower. Bodhipaksa provides both the why and the how of mindful self-compassion, drawing on contemporary psychology and neuroscience and also on Buddhist psychology, weaving the modern and ancient together into a coherent whole.

Contemporary psychologists are focusing less on self-esteem and more on self-compassion. Bodhipaksa, a practicing meditator of more than thirty years, effortlessly blends ancient techniques dating back to the time of the Buddha with the most recent understanding of psychology and neuroscience. And in the end, as Bodhipaksa writes, it is actually quite simple: “Life is short. Be kind.”

ISBN: 9781946764515
Paperback, 224 pages
Trim size: 5.25″ x 8″


book cover


“Bodhipaksa gently reminds us that compassion for others begins with compassion for ourselves. This book is a wise guide to five key skills that bring mindful self-compassion to our own suffering and allow us to move through the world with our hearts wide open.”
—Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

“Bodhipaksa embodies an unusual combination of penetrating wisdom, simplicity and modesty, heartfelt good humor, deep contemplative training, grounding in science, and direct clear expression. A wonderful friend and teacher for the path.”
—Rick Hanson, Buddha’s Brain

“Suffering is inherent to being human. Bodhipaksa contends that mindfulness meditation and lovingkindness or compassion meditation are powerful vehicles for meeting this challenge. He makes a compelling case with a clear presentation of these traditional meditation practices and scientific studies that show how these benefit us. Kudos!”
—Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness and Real Happiness



This Difficult Thing of Being Human teaches how to develop mindful self-compassion. It introduces a number of meditation techniques that help build the skills that allow us to respond compassionately to our pain.

Meditation 1: Three-Minute Breathing Space

Meditation 2: Mindfulness of Breathing in the Whole Body

Meditation 3: Walking Meditation

Meditation 4: Cultivating Self-Empathy

Meditation 5: Lovingkindness Meditation

Meditation 6a: Letter From Your Future Self

Meditation 6b: A Visit From Your Future Self

Meditation 7: Compassion Meditation


Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist teacher and author who has been practicing within the Triratna Buddhist Community since 1982. He’s originally from Scotland and formerly ran a retreat center in the Scottish Highlands. In 2000 he created the online meditation center Wildmind ( in order to make meditation instruction more widely available. He holds an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Buddhism and business from the University of Montana. He lives and teaches in New Hampshire. You can see Bodhipaksa’s other publications on his Amazon Author Page.