See what it takes to thrive in 2020.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.“
This statement is the most simple yet profound way to achieve that one thing that we universally desire – happiness. Happiness, for ourselves, our families, all those whom we love, and even extended outward to encompass all living beings. If we consider compassion as a way to embody this desire, we will truly arrive there gracefully.
Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. (berkeley.edu)
Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. Neither is it the same as pity, in fact, in Yogic philosophy, pity is considered the near enemy of compassion. Feeling sorry “for” someone is not the same as wishing to relieve their suffering. Can you identify a time when you felt pity? How about compassion?
The COVID pandemic, racial injustice, strong political differences may create feelings of separation and enhance our sense of isolation within our communities but it can also bridge connection and togetherness. Anchoring in the experience of compassion will not only help us survive but thrive during these times.
Steven Taylor, professor and clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, in his book The Psychology of Pandemics says, “Affiliative, supportive, prosocial behaviors are more common, where widespread sickness and debility evoke acts of mutual aid among members of a community in crisis.”
If 2020 teaches us nothing else, it has revealed that we must build a culture of empathy and compassion. We must heal the healers and tend to our mother earth. This begins with our children, awakening them to their inherent nature to love and care for all beings. It then moves to our capacity to foster self compassion. And finally, it invites us to share this with everyone we encounter – at the grocery store, on the internet, in our shared and private spaces. And when we practice and teach this, it becomes our natural state.
Here is a short recording for you of a compassion practice I use regularly. It is my all time favorite meditation practice and I would love to hear how it lands for you.
May You Be Happy
May you Be Free
Also, here’s an invitation to my 40 day challenge where I share much more about this practice and offer tools and resources for bringing it into your daily life.