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Gillian Sanger

How are you practicing compassion these days?

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This week's question asks:

How are you practicing compassion these days?

This morning I listened to Tonglen meditation led by Jeremy Lipkowitz (it says it's a sleep meditation, but it doesn't need to be). It got me thinking about the many different ways to cultivate and practice compassion both for ourselves and for others. Whether it's through meditation practice like Tonglen or Metta, through cultivating curiosity and generosity over judgment in conversations, through positive affirmations, or through inspired, loving action, how is compassion entering your life these days?

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Compassion is action. For twelve hours today I walked water and food and emotional support to firefighters, displaced people (100,000 people evacuated yesterday and today), homeless people, and animals. I’m covered with soot, wind and sun burned, exhausted, my feet ache, my back aches, and I’m walking around periodically crying from what I guess is joy because I saw so much love and gratitude today my heart can barely stand it. I’m going to grab a few hours of sleep and head back out.

Edited by Jeff Miller
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Compassion is indeed, as Jeff said (and did), the call to act when our hearts care about suffering.  There is suffering in every direction right now, so plenty of opportunity to act in compassion.  

With all of the energies building at the moment- the second full moon (blue) of the month,  the continued uncertainty, unfairness, and unrest, and the impending election- I too was called back to a favorite Tonglen meditation today, led my the wonderful Ruth King.  It is one of my favorites.  She says "I care about this suffering".  It resonates with me deeply.  I come back to it often these days.

Since I cannot possibly act on behalf of all of the suffering around me locally and globally, I do what I can in action, but in heart and mind, I continuously bring my awareness to the wishes for ease and peace that I hold for every sentient being on this earth.  I do this in formal meditation, in every interaction, and all that falls in between.

May all beings be free from suffering.  

 

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Thank you Gillian for the lovely meditation, and I appreciate your comments Rachel, about Tonglen meditation. I am practicing compassion in a few different ways. I'm starting off with practicing self-compassion. I've learned a lot about self-compassion from Kristin Neff, and as someone who tends to take care of others, I've come to understand that I can only give from a place of fullness inside. I also practice compassion by volunteering and being active in causes in believe in, such as racial justice and human rights. Another way I practice compassion is by being mindful in everyday interactions- listening  reflectively, demonstrating genuine positive regard, practicing non-judgment, and looking for opportunities to complement and give encouragement (not the same as giving advice). 

Edited by Jo L
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Compassion for me these days comes in the form of seeing people. Really seeing what people do.  I try to celebrate them when I can. At work I even suggested ways to celebrate the everyday victories so that people feel "seen". We are doing this now and it has already shown to be a useful morale boost for people. Compassion comes in many forms, and in such a angry world, we need more.

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