Increase Your Compassion

When we know ourselves to be connected to all others, acting compassionately is simply the natural thing to do.”
- R.N. Remen

So why don't we all practice compassion all the time?

We forget. We go to sleep. We separate ourselves as if we are different than the others. We pretend that we are different than the others in a way that lets us separate ourselves from their pain, their suffering, their problems.

In this day and age, it seems that we practice separation as a survival skill.

Perhaps this compassion practice will give you another option.

Directions:

  1. When you are walking on the street, sitting in your office, on public transportation, or driving in your car, begin the practice of noticing people and saying something like, “That person is just like me. He/she may have different color hair, skin, job, etc. but we have the same fears, hopes, sadness, joys, and longings.”
  2. As you say something like that to yourself, notice what happens in your body. What sensations do you notice? What images do you see in your mind's eye? What stories do you begin to tell about the others and about yourself?
  3. Notice all that you experience and either write it down briefly or file it away in your memory.
  4. Do this a few times a day and see if it begins to affect your reactions/responses to people.
  5. Also, when someone whom you love or work with is having a big reaction to something, begin to employ the same practice as above. Even though you may not react or respond the way this other person does, find out what happens when you get very present with that person, and very present with yourself, staying in connection with him/her and staying connected to the we of humanity that binds us together.
  6. I recommend that you jot down some notes and date them. That way, you can see how much your feelings of compassion increase over time, without effort on your part to push yourself to be compassionate.

Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment, we rise above ourselves.”
Mason Cooley

As always, write privately or post a comment on the blog as you experiment with this practice.

Enjoy.

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