There is a lot going on right now, a lot of unrest, a lot of inequality, a lot of heartache, and it’s hard. It’s hard for all of us to live in a world where there is so much uncertainty, and hate, and hurt.
Human nature is to feel good when expressing love and care for other humans, and to feel even better when those same feelings are reciprocated back to us.
Compassion isn’t always easy, but it’s important to see it more as having a sensitivity to the suffering that exists, while working to try and alleviate that suffering in whatever capacity makes sense for you.
We have the ability to love the same. And while it may seem at times impossible, or at times like you don’t know where to begin. There is hope. And there is still good.
1. Start With Awareness
Our attention is what allows us to pull negativity from the spotlight and replace it with compassion. When we think of good, we feel good; when we think of bad, we feel bad. It’s simple.
When we notice what the mind is up, only then can we can effort to change it. Only when we act with intention, are we able to cultivate compassion. If you orient yourself to compassion by being aware of your thoughts, you will begin to change the whole orientation of your mind.
The key here is to understand that we can select, on purpose, one of our basic motivational systems—for caring—and we can cultivate it, help it grow and mature, through practice.
In order to serve others, you need to first work through your own emotions and difficulties to be able to connect with good intentions. When you do the work to heal your psyche and connect with yourself, compassion becomes a natural by-product.
2. Be Intentional
Setting one’s intention is like choosing the direction of your heart. Your intention helps guide your efforts to be compassionate.
Try starting with these questions:
- What is compelling you to practice compassion today?
- What do you want for yourself?
- What do you want for your life?
- What do you have to offer the world?
While these are indeed “big” questions, asking them allows you to think about WHY you do what you do, and why you are trying to strengthen your inner skill of compassion.
3. Find Community
If we take a look at what is happening in the world right now, this becomes more obvious than ever.
There is power in community.
Community helps renew one’s optimism as it reminds you that you are not alone in your acts of demonstrating compassion. Community means choosing to acknowledge suffering (whether your own or someone else’s) and wishing to see the relief of that suffering.
A practice that can be much more difficult to do on your own.
Social media is at our fingertips now to cultivate this sense of community and I think this has been proven over the past few weeks more so now than ever. So why not use it for the better?
When you start to utilize these tools to practice compassion more and more in your day to day life, I can promise you that you will begin to see and feel a positive difference emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
daily practice, not perfect