Blog Challenge: Day 4 – Be Compassionate

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ~ Albert Einstein

Compassion is not something to hoard or dole out in measured teaspoons; it is a quality to spread liberally on everything. Like most qualities we are wanting to deepen in our lives, compassion needs to be nourished.

Imagine you have a beautiful plant you want to flourish. Would you feed it tar or salt water? Not if you want it to thrive. You would bring what feeds it most: rainwater, good compost, and sunshine.

Compassion is a form of sunshine, warming the cold parts of us and feeding our souls. We know the quality of compassion when we receive it, but don’t always know how to cultivate compassion.

One way is to step back and look at the bigger picture. All of us are interconnected, and we are each carrying burdens from the past and experiences that cause us to armor and defend. Judgment perpetuates old patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Compassion opens a new door and invites us to look from a larger context, dissolving stuck energy and shifting from mind to heart. Compassion is not about thinking at something, but about being with everything.

Here are three places to practice bringing in the soothing balm of compassion:

When you make a mistake
Imagine your best friend and your dog and your spiritual teacher and the Dalai Lama are standing next to you. Can you bring your mercy and forgiveness to yourself, using this council of compassion to remind you that mistakes are just mistakes. Take a deep breath and focus on taking your next action from your heart.

When you feel despair
Bring compassion to the places where you feel defeated, beaten down, and confused. Despair comes when we see no hope. But compassion for ourselves and others brings in spaciousness to see new possibilities. Have compassion for our fears and struggle and watch your wisdom come back online.

When you are confused
Confusion clouds our thinking and drains our energy. Have mercy for yourself by slowing down and giving yourself the space to get grounded. Don’t try and push through your confusion. Dissipate it by stepping back, reminding yourself of what your intent is and what you want, and then engaging again from curiosity. Let compassion guide you to lovingly pierce through the fog to the crystal clear knowing that lies within.

Where else can you administer the medicine of compassion in your life?

6 thoughts on “Blog Challenge: Day 4 – Be Compassionate

  1. Hi Heather , I’m catching up and day 4 word compassion is truly hitting home with me. I decided that I want to clear out my judgments about others to rid myself of this negative state of mind. With your 11 day challenge I am on my way to meeting this goal. Compassion is so much needed in our world today and for myself. Thank you
    Kim

  2. I am truly amazed at how each day I am met with the exact thing I need in this challenge – and it has been a challenge in every wonderful way. As I read today’s challenge to be compassionate tears welled up in my eyes. I am overwhelmed with feelings coming up from deep within as I realize how hard on myself I am and how fragile I feel right now. Thank you HeatherAsh for everything. I will encourage compassion today and every day moving forward for myself and beyond.

  3. Hi Heather. It’s funny that there are social media buttons nestled on your blog about compassion, because there is so little compassion in social media. The voices are so shrill and getting shriller by the crisis. I have (for the most part) stopped reading the comments left in news articles and I have started “hiding” Facebook memes shared by friends that end up on my wall that I find distressing or angering. Honestly, I have even “snoozed” people for 30 days because they weren’t posting life stories or pictures or even lost cars, but only bullying memes. Is that compassion? I don’t know. It feels like self compassion because I was finding all the hate too much to take, but it probably wasn’t too compassionate to the people I snoozed. If they had expressed their fears or anger is their own words without reverting to personal attacks against the people with whom they had a disagreement, I wouldn’t have hidden their posts. It isn’t the difference in opinions I find discompasaionate, it’s the thoughtless spreading of hate

  4. I find it has been “easier” for me to be critical than compassionate. I have had a tendency to be hard on myself. Today was a good day for me to hear this message.

  5. Compassion when feeling despair is a tough one for me. I tend to fall into the murk of despair and struggled pulling myself out. I will practice being more compassionate towards myself. I love your suggestion to imagine your best friend, your dog, your spiritual teacher and the Dali Lama there in that moment. Great imagery to focus compassion on one’s self. Thank you for this.

  6. Wow, this was truly meaningful to me. Having compassion for ourselves is so important, necessary – and yet probably we are the least likely to have compassion for ourselves. The energy that is used judging myself is just wasted! Thank you!!

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