I believe the practice of compassion is life changing. It may seem like the path of least resistance to get irritated at people for their poor driving skills or their rudeness and unpleasantness. When you become angry in those situations, your anger is more damaging to you than to the object of your irritation.
Our compassion practice must begin with ourselves. When you join us for a retreat, your weekend of self care leads to self-compassion.
Flipping someone the bird or muttering cuss words under our breath, certainly doesn’t affect the offending party, but it does affect us. I believe when we allow ourselves to get caught up in bitterness and irritation, we begin to spread the toxic energy, even without meaning to.
So instead of irritation, allow yourself a moment of compassion. The offending person may be experiencing a challenging situation. A loss of a job, a pet, a loved one or something even more challenging. Find compassion for this fellow traveler, offer a smile, a kind word, let them go in front of you in traffic or in line. They may not wave or nod in appreciation but let that go too.
- Compassion begins with forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive loved ones, strangers. We are all in this together, we are all connected, let's not let our small mindedness and selfishness stand in the way of a beautiful shared experience.
- A lovingkindness meditation cultivates compassion. When I first began my lovingkindness meditation, I struggled with finding love, compassion or kindness for those in my life who I felt had wronged me. After a consistent practice, I let that go and now my it's easier to find compassion towards myself and others. We practice Lovingkindness Meditations at our Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats.
- Find compassion for yourself. Find gratitude for your journey and the steps along the way. Forgive yourself for the steps in the wrong direction and congratulate yourself for the steps in the right direction. Compassion for self is the first step in self-love and self-acceptance.
- Begin a gratitude practice. Focusing on gratitude for what you have, what you've survived and what you've let go, encourages a whole new perspective. Your new perspective will allow you to see you're not alone in struggles and challenges. Let that turn into compassion for others and what they may be struggling with.
- Remember everyone is doing the best they can. Before judging someone for a perceived slight, take a moment to see them as a kindred spirit on a similar path to yours. Complete with ups and downs, and sometimes unimaginable struggles.
When we recognize we're all in this together and connected to each other - despite our differences - compassion is the only choice.