Compassion is absolutely stunning. Seeing someone successfully being Compassionate, and the effect it has on people’s lives is just amazing and I’m certainly trying to emulate those people in my life. Compassion is hard, though, and today I want to discuss some of the potential challenges to bringing it into our lives.
Firstly, there is lack of awareness in our life. I find one of the most common blockages to Compassion is us simply not seeing that we’re being rather uncompassionate, or close-minded. This comes about because we aren’t being mindful of how we are reacting to someone else, or treating them in a given moment. If we cannot bring a conscious awareness of how we are treating others, and how we can be compassionate about that, then we fail at Compassion usually. Unless it is such an ingrained aspect of our lives that we can do it unconsciously, we usually have to try very hard at being Compassionate in our lives. For this, I practice meditation and focusing on the breath. The better I am at focusing on my breath and taking time out of my day to more actively practice mindfulness, the better I am at being aware throughout the day. When I’m better at being more aware, I can be mindful of my reactions to people and how I’m treating them, which means I can practice Compassion much more easily. Granted, it has taken me around 78 days of straight meditation where my mind is calm enough, consistently, and I can notice these things as a somewhat normal mindstate. After 10 days straight of meditation though (at 10 minutes a day), scientifically and psychologically, people notice a change and their brain actually starts transforming physically. So, don’t feel discouraged if you’ve tried and it hasn’t succeeded! It helps and can transform your life, and your ability to practice Compassion!
Secondly, I think there is some sort of ethical challenge people like to create to practicing Compassion, or kindness in general. We feel that because people do bad things or things we disagree with, we aren’t allowed to be Compassionate towards them, or that we somehow must hate them. Why, oh Why do we think this? Compassion is Understanding of another human’s troubles, and Understanding that they are a product of so much more than what we see. Even if they do something deplorable, we can still practice this Compassion, correct? To try and Understand another Human Being, even if they are absolutely horrible. It is one of the beautiful qualities that People have that nothing else really does. It brings us together, and we should use it as often as we can.
Finally, there is the challenge of vulnerability. We often feel that we must be really vulnerable to be Compassionate, and with good reason. Vulnerability is a huge part of Compassion. It means acknowledging that you have either been where that person has been or that you could be. Oftentimes it involves the slightest opening up of your heart to the other person. When we fully Understand Someone, we should fully Understand Ourselves as well. If we don’t, then we probably don’t understand them as well as we think we do. At the moment, though, of complete Understanding and Compassion, we have the capability to deeply Love that person too.
For all of this, I am grateful. To be able to try and apply these things to my Life, and really begin to open up to people and see them clearly.
Tomorrow I am reviewing all of Compassion, and then I am going into a Review week, with a post every day (hopefully they’ll be a bit longer than these ones, but I make no guarantees) that will be about the process of taking these into my Life, and how it applies to many aspects of the World.
As always, this is a place of respect and of acceptance of ideas, with the opportunity for constructive discussion. I encourage posting a comment, or even just doing self-reflection and journaling about these ideas.
So that we may all become better people.