A recent conversation with a dear friend provided an unexpected opportunity to consider the importance of compassion in our daily lives. I have found that practicing compassion has brought ease to my heart around difficult personal relationships. And I find that I frequently have to work at compassion every day.
We each carry pain and hurt deep in our hearts. Perhaps from difficult childhood experiences that color our adulthood …rejections (real or perceived by us) from someone that we love and from whom we
[Kuan Yin is the dearly loved Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, cherished in many cultures worldwide. Embodying compassionate loving kindness, her presence calms those who suffer and brings peace to the heart. ]
Practicing compassion means stepping back from a powerful hurt and examining the thought processes we engage in around this particular experience and/or belief that we are holding onto “for dear life” - regardless of what carrying this pain has created in our life. A clear-eyed, open-hearted review of the experience or belief will usually show us outdated beliefs and attitudes that we can address, work to release, and change into a powerful transformation of how we view the world.
Challenging? Absolutely. This is a vitally important practice that changes us, and radiates outward to change the world.
Arrien, Angeles, The Four Fold Way, HarperSanFrancisco, 1993 http://www.angelesarrien.org/
The Dalai Lama on Compassion http://www.dalailama.com/messages/compassion
Schlitz, M, Vieten, C, and Amorok, T, Living Deeply The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, New Harbinger Publications 2007