Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves ~ Pema Chodron
Compassion is an internal gift which provides helpful attributes of self care. As a practice compassion brings us closer to what is meaningful and puts us directly in contact with the generous experience of love and kindness. This is the true aim of a mature and developing yoga and meditation practice. Compassion is an invitation to move forward in our lives with transparent authenticity. This is the practice of keeping it real and close to home. Close to the home of the heart. The heart is a potent place to focus our attention and assists us in navigating our lives with more honesty, solace, and truthful clarity. It also helps us to find the courage and confidence to move away from unhealthy situations and occupy more territory inside ourselves in true alignment with the soul.
There is an intimacy with life when we choose compassion as it connects us to the core of our spiritual nature. It connects us to the depth of our common humanity. It is a relative and spiritual gateway helping us relate to others and ourselves with our imperfections and shortcomings. It provides the latitude for greater understanding and acceptance of our circumstances in whatever situation we may find ourselves.
I think of compassion as a courageous path one must be very brave to choose to take. It takes true wisdom to navigate this course of action. Compassion has the power to untangle us from our internal and external struggles and directly open us to our vulnerabilities as humans. It can assist in realizing we often don’t have control of our lives and its circumstances. It provides awareness that we can navigate life from an empowered place of love without the constraints of the ego getting in the way with its ultimate desire to control situations and people from a place of fear. Compassion helps us to let go and to go on.
A very easy way to experience compassion is to simply feel with. Not think about or strategize about, but to feel with. Whatever could be happening in life that is good, bad, right, or wrong, etc…we go with the flow of the experience and acknowledge how it feels inside. This is a felt sense of being which keeps us in contact with the present moment without abandoning ourselves when life get uncomfortable or isn’t going the way we want it to. Navigating both our joy and disturbances with presence and a felt sense of care we can slowly soften the grips of the ego and surrender to the higher understanding of our spiritual intelligence.
This takes time to practice and develop the self trust it takes to experience more freedom inside ourselves independent of all external events and circumstances. However, it is a very valuable endeavor to practice and undertake. The benefits of compassion are infinite. The fruits of the merits we gain by practicing it begin to materialize in the outer world in a more heart centered approach to life.
Compassion as a practice is deep nourishment for the heart and the soul. Feeding this deeper territory is an act of generosity. We will never get it “right” and be “perfect” however compassion is one of these territories we can occupy that provides great strength and understanding.