“Compassion is the wish-fulfilling gem
whose light of healing spreads in all directions.” (Sogyal Rinpoche)
One evening, I was walking home when I heard a child crying loudly from somewhere behind me. As the anguished cries continued unabated, I heard the hurried footsteps of someone fast approaching me with a “harrumph” and turned my head to see an irritated woman. She explained without prompting, “I have to walk fast because it’s breaking my heart.” With more than a hint of annoyance, she quickly added: “Just pick him up and comfort him!”
Wow! What a concise teaching on compassion. Acknowledge the pain of another, let it touch your heart, put yourself aside to be there for them, and offer caring or comfort, without judgment, to alleviate their suffering. That is compassion. When someone is suffering: “Just pick him up and comfort him!”
The call of compassion is urgent. It’s wired in our brains thanks to mirror neurons that allow us to know what others are feeling.
We may find ourselves like the child on the street, awash in overwhelming emotion in the face of personal suffering. At other times, we may sense a much more subtle pull, maybe an ache that is reawakened by the tragic suffering of others and has us crying out to be healed from the depths of our past. Such times are opportunities for profound healing, if we can practice self-compassion.
But just as easily as the spontaneous cry of a child, we’ve been socialized to judge our feelings as unworthy and to push them down and disregard them. Repression in a New York minute for whatever reason has consequences on our health and well-being and not so subtly colors our relationships, our work and our self-satisfaction.
It’s important not to fall into the trap of believing that being compassionate to yourself is self-centered, weak, or unworthy of your time. To practice self-compassion, you need to set aside the ego—that part of you that judges, has ideas about how things should be, doubts whether you’re good enough, is striving to get somewhere and to hold it all together, and numbs itself to avoid discomfort—to be present with, comfort, and love what is tender, aching and vulnerable inside of you. Self-compassion requires a powerful act of will and self-love for the truth of who you are in your wholeness—and that includes light and shadow.
It takes brave-hearted courage to hold true to yourself and your emotional experience when you have the overwhelming urge to run screaming in the other direction, or head straight for the nearest bar.
Here are 5 keys for practicing self-compassion:
- CENTER Yourself.
- ACKNOWLEDGE what you are feeling.
- FEEL the emotion. Let it be. Don’t push it away.
- BREATHE. Emotion moves on the breath.
- LOVE and comfort yourself. Here’s how: Tell yourself, your inner child, or any part of you that needs healing: “I hear you and I understand. It’s okay for you to feel that way. I’m here with you. I love you.” (Repeat as needed.)
Finally, ask for help. You can call on Spirit. You can also call on a trusted friend, therapist, or healer.
Remember, that I’m here for you, too. To schedule an energy healing session, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m holding a vision for you of the brave, beautiful and compassionate being that you are! In Love and Light, Cynthia