True Compassion Begins with Self-Compassion
We are all such an important thread in this magnificent global fabric of love and along with awakening and cultivating our innate gifts of acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude, we should also focus on awakening compassion. If we can be just a bit more accepting, grateful, forgiving and compassionate each day, then we indeed are transforming the world by transforming ourselves!
Compassion is often misunderstood and confused with other emotions. True compassion is the ability to be sympathetic, empathetic, as well as having the desire to alleviate another’s pain and suffering.
Beyond living life at the level of, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” compassion looks to heal others even in instances when you would not heal yourself. There are many people we like, even love, yet the depth of our compassion for them is shallow. Perhaps fear, jealousy, resentment, guilt, or anger color our perspective and each of these emotions carry with it a certain attachment that prevents true compassion.
There are many people and things we think we love, but often it is because of our current relationship to them. Most likely, if the relationship changed, so would your feelings about those people or things. For example, let’s say you “love” your boss and he treats you really well. But, if your boss fires you today, your feelings about him or her would change. You might not be as forgiving of his actions that you previously accepted or blessed because of your “attachment” to him. You might even say that you don’t like him anymore since you were fired.
If your partner, fiancé, lover or spouse came home today and told you they were leaving the relationship, you might not look upon them with the same level of forgiveness, support and sweetness as before. Most likely, that’s because you have more attachment to them rather than compassion for them. Or perhaps you are confusing loving-kindness with a more attached definition of love.
How can we know if we are feeling compassion about something and are not simply attached? In the examples above, the moment the relationship changed between you and your boss or you and your partner, most likely so did the level of rooting for that person. You stopped feeling the way you had.
Imagine if our compassion could transcend our relationships and the attachment we have to them – pure sympathy, pure empathy and pure desire to help them heal. It is the ultimate characteristic of emotional intelligence. But all compassion starts with self-compassion. If you are not rooting for yourself in every moment, how can you root for others? If you can’t empathize with your own plight, then you are not connected to your own heart. Healing others begins with healing yourself.
Let’s begin to root for ourselves! Let’s place our attention – from the moment we awake, until the moment we fall asleep – on accepting ourselves, forgiving ourselves, seeing gratitude in each moment, and allowing compassion to flow through each thought, word and action.
If we are just a bit more loving to our self this week, those around us will feel our acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude and compassion … and the world will be a better place.
davidji is a certified Vedic Master and a teacher of stress management, emotional healing, and conscious choice-making. He is the author of the best-selling Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace & Personal Transformation and the creator of the award-winning guided meditation CD Fill What is Empty; Empty What is Full. Visit davidji.com for free tools, tips, and techniques to take your practice to the next level and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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