Day 11 – Compassion Changes Everything
“The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope.” – Daniel Berrigan
Compassion is based on the truth that as humans we all have an intrinsic worth and share similar aspirations, fears, and struggles. When we feel compassion for one another, we honor and respect that truth. In today’s meditation, we discover that the openness and expansion of awareness in a compassionate heart helps to nourish the power of hope in our life.
Today is Day 11 and we’re learning that compassion changes everything. We all have moments of doubt and uncertainty, moments when patience with others wears thin. Trying to manage issues of family or work, moments when people you rely on let you down. Try to remember this the next time you feel that energy coming on. If you take time to look at people in the light of compassion everything can change.
Powerful forces come into play when you stop and ask, “What do I really know about this person? I may see them every day but do I know what makes them cry? Do I know their home circumstances? Do I know their suffering?” If you begin to know that each person is a divine being worthy of hope and compassion, your perception of any situation will shift.
Best-selling author Karen Armstrong, a former nun who writes about the role of religion in the modern world says that all the world’s religions have one thing in common…compassion. She says compassion can be summed up in the Golden Rule, “Never treat others the way you would not like to be treated yourself.” It comes down to the simple act of listening and respecting others, with kindness. Karen says, “We don’t have certainty in this life if you let it go and act in this compassionate way all day and every day, you begin to lose your fear. When fear is removed, compassion flows. And from that flow, we unleash the power of hope. That is where our work begins today. Open your heart. You will find hope.
Compassion is another quality of our consciousness that gives hope its power. Compassion creates an intimate bond from heart to heart by being open and accepting. In everyday life when we meet someone who could become a close ally, friend or lover, the first steps usually feel uncertain and nervous. It can feel vulnerable and when we really feel a strong attraction, that’s when we are most afraid.
Compassion, however, is not constrictive or selective. It radiates like light shining on everyone. The ego, the part of ourselves always looking to protect itself, can only pretend to be compassionate. Deep down it wants something in return such as admiration or submission. We pick and choose who to be emotionally open with because we’re afraid we’ll be hurt if we choose wrong. Yet the choice is being made from insecurity and distrust to begin with. Therefore, it’s not reliable.
The alternative is simply to be open and caring without worrying that your love might end up in the wrong hands. Openness is either with everyone or no one because openness is a quality of the true self. If you have found this quality through meditation and expanded awareness, being open is simply who you are with everyone. Openness leads to loss of defensiveness which leads to acceptance of others. From this acceptance comes compassion because when you look inside anyone else’s heart, you feel your heart.
We tend to exalt unconditional compassion as a spiritual quality possessed only by saints. But compassion is a shared inheritance that comes from inside. You begin to grow in compassion by feeling empathy. Empathy is like emotional merging, whether you cry at a romantic movie with a sad ending or feel joy at the marriage of a friend. An ego barrier melts if only for a few moments and your empathy flows outward of its own accord. When you are empathetic you feel what another feels; you are one in that moment, connected to your shared consciousness.
You can bring empathy into any situation overriding your ego and simply saying or doing something kind. If you can accept that people are doing the best they can from their level of consciousness, you no longer need to judge. You feel sympathy and compassion rises on its own from a flowing heart.
I meet any situation with loving kindness.
I am compassion.
Before getting clean and sober I felt like a waste of space on this planet. I had no purpose. I had no worth. Having been graced with recovery I feel I have found my purpose and that is to share my “experience, strength and hope”.
Sharing with others is not an easy feat. It took a long time for me to build self-esteem and self-worth with the love and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. But over time, one day at a time, I can finally say I am comfortable in my skin and I value and love myself for who and what I am. When fear is removed, compassion flows. And from that flow, we unleash the power of hope.
I have found practicing rigorous honesty with those who enter my “Dee bubble” is the easiest and most freeing way to sharing my experience, strength and hope. I am no longer ashamed of being an alcoholic, nor am I hesitant to share that information. For I am an alcoholic in recovery forever grateful and humbled for being chosen to carry this message. My life is good today. I have happiness and peace and freedom. How can I not share this gift?
And when one enters my bubble I strive to not judge. I strive to be compassionate and mindful and respectful. Putting myself in others’ shoes is so much easier than copping resentments or being judgmental about them. My growth is huge from this practice. And the bonds I have made with complete strangers is priceless!
For those interested in Inspirational Art with a Message, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com. Mahalo and have a peaceful day!
From Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge “Hope in Uncertain Times”.