The greatest challenge is to remember that we hold the keys to our own peace.
The word compassion is such a beautiful word, soft and gentle, it is comprised of two parts com meaning with, and passion meaning an intense emotion, either pleasurable or painful. Many times it is difficult to know which aspects of passion we are feeling, and sometimes we clearly encounter both at the same time.
This week I wanted to share a brief handout on compassion, and remember we never know what someone else is going through, we often can be quick to judge. But when we often judge others it often means we often judge ourselves.
Compassion is a form of infinite love. As women and men we seem to have a natural gift for radiating love and compassion. Our heartfelt compassion often embraces people in unfortunate circumstances beyond their control.
Sometimes this natural compassion changes in certain circumstances often with a hesitation when someone is unhappy and needs our compassionate nature.
Do we forget compassion when we feel worry and stress? Running late might be a reason enough to create anxiety and prompt us to neglect our compassionate nature. If you feel rushed, a simple delay accelerates your anxiety. We have all had this experience, you are waiting at a red light, and right as it changes to green, your foot comes off the break onto the accelerator, however above the acceleration pedal you’re ready to go but the traffic is not moving. Irritation mounts. You strain to look out the window, even give a toot on the horn. Why are they not moving? The light is not going to get any greener, probably someone is daydreaming, or talking on their phone. I don’t have all day!! let’s go!! you’re now in a fully adrenaline charge state.
Imagine that when accelerating forcefully as the light turns from yellow to red, you notice out of the corner of your eye a blind woman and her guide dog safely finishing crossing the street. That was the cause of the delay, the very delay that caused you to be so irritated, anxious, and even angry. Observing the woman and her dog, your heart is again able to open and expand. That anger and annoyance despite, replaced by compassion.
The next time, in a similar situation, recall this story and give the benefit of the doubt, allowing compassion to take over the driver seat.
The way we treat others often reflects on how we treat ourselves. When we are compassionate to those around us, it becomes easier to replicate that compassion when we are the one who caused the problem. Did you ever press the wrong button on the computer and delete hours of work? Or forget an important document on the way to the bank? These are the times that we need compassion instead of calling yourself unkind names, take a moment to speak sweetly to yourself as if you are a child “it’s okay sweetie, we can fix this”. This is when you need love and compassion to soak up for many of us compassion is a one-way street going out of ourselves but not coming back. Let it circle back around, use compassion as a soothing balm to treat everyone you meet, starting with yourself.
“Through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you”.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Compassion for myself is the most powerful healer of them all.