Vail Valley perspective: Increase your caring capacity
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado “-Lama Zopa Rinpoche says:
“Live with compassion
Work with compassion
Die with compassion
Meditate with compassion
Enjoy with compassion
When problems come,
Experience them with compassion.”
We gain many benefits from demonstrating compassion. Compassion is a warm heart, respecting and helping others and heart-opening. It is the recognition of suffering and moving towards it with kindness and caring.
Practicing compassion increases our capacity to care. Feelings of judgment, spite, or anger close the heart. These feelings are easy to fall into as they may be familiar. Learning to stop and remember that compassion will expand your heart reinforces empathy, charity and sympathy. It is good exercise for your heart.
How do we have compassion for someone who has wronged us? Compassion is not about being a doormat and allowing others to walk all over us. We can have compassion (caring) for the suffering that this person may be going through that causes them to wrong others. Having compassion for the wrongs we feel have been done to us is power, not weakness. We speak out about injustices without hesitation. We learn to live clearly, and in that clarity, we stand for right-ness and speak out against wrong.
If we recognize that this person who has wronged us is suffering, then we will seek ways to help relieve their suffering. Rather than judge them for their behavior, which is stems from their suffering, we can work on how we can help them. That help could be as simple as loving them ” no matter what. We may not be able to fix someone’s suffering, but we can love them in spite of it.
Compassion is something that some may feel for people and not for animals. It can be something that some may feel for animals and not for people or one group over another. Why would we not have compassion for all living things? Is one life more important than another’s?
Here are 7 compassion practices from the Dalai Lama:
1. Morning ritual ” Greet each morning with a ritual such as saying, “Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life and I’m not going to waste it.”
2. Empathy practice ” The first step in cultivating compassion is to develop empathy for your fellow human beings.
3. Commonalities practice ” Instead of recognizing the differences between yourself and others, try to recognize what you have in common.
4. Relief of suffering practice ” Once you can empathize with another person, and understand his humanity and suffering, the next step is to want that person to be free from suffering.
5. Act of kindness practice ” Imagine again the suffering of someone you know. Imagine what you could do to help the person’s suffering end. Now imagine what you’d like them to do to help your suffering to end. A good example of this is offering someone a smile or a kind word.
6. Those who mistreat us practice ” When we encounter someone who mistreats us, instead of acting in anger, withdraw. Try to imagine what this person went through in their life to create such action.
7. Evening routine ” Take a few minutes before you go to bed to reflect on your day.
Where do you demonstrate compassion in your life? Begin to notice today where you do and when you do. Notice why you make distinctions between who deserves your compassion and who doesn’t. Live heart-open and allow your heart to grow.
Catherine-Zeeb holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Metaphysics. She has a private therapy practice in-Edwards. You can visit her Web site at http://www.healing-spirits.net.