A note on mindfulness + compassion.
I find myself sleepy + groggy, having woken up today with another bout of end-of-winter sickness. Despite feeling less than optimal, I feel a sense of stillness + inner peace that is very refreshing (perhaps it was the 10 hours of much needed sleep…).
Yesterday I was sitting with something that keeps coming up again + again— the feelings of anxiety around “saying the wrong thing” in a time where it seems we are becoming hyper sensitive to the words we speak + what we share. There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst people I know, when it comes to having dialogue around difficult but very important topics (like inequality, racism, police brutality, gender orientation, trauma) out of fear of saying something that is not “correct” and potentially receiving backlash.
I’m seeing more + more that, because of this fear, people are choosing to opt out of these important conversations. I don’t believe that I am the one to say what is right + what is not right. But what I do believe I can speak on, is the importance of actively practicing mindfulness + compassion.
Mindfulness teaches us many ways to show up. On of the most valuable things it can reveal to us is where we have more room to find + embrace compassion. If we don’t have a mindfulness practice that we can come back to, then experiences like anger, resentment, + fear, can become our default frequency. All I have to do is ask— do you think that frequency is productive or conducive to beneficial change? I personally do not. I believe that any frequency that runs on vibrations like fear + resentment, only keep us more divided and present more hurdles when it comes to true, clear answers on how to move forward.
There is absolutely a time to feel angry or enraged by injustice. But if we stay there, if we never venture out into a state of compassion, how can those who are stuck in that place of judgment ever learn to grow beyond what they know? If we only surround ourselves with things that comfort us + with those who think exactly the same as us, then where is the room for perspective, contrast, + ultimately, growth? If we cannot speak without becoming irate or hateful as someone expresses how they see from where they sit, then how can we ever expect to truly understand? If we cannot hold space for someone who is small minded, or confused, or even entitled or ignorant, without shaming, berating, + belittling, then how can we ever truly know compassion?
I think it’s important to remember that true compassion isn’t reserved only for those who suit your vision of what it means to be a good person. True compassion is extended to all sentient beings, even the ones who challenge us the most. I don’t believe that this is something that comes easy, but I believe it’s something that we can practice, everyday.
I leave you with these three quotes:
“That is what compassion does. It challenges our assumptions, our sense of self-limitation, worthlessness, of not having a place in the world. As we develop compassion, our hearts open.”
“Until you have real compassion, you can not recognize love.”
“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”