Monday, May 12, 2014


May 2014

"They say compassion is a virtue, but I don't have the time." ~ That is a lyric from one of my favorite songs, "No Compassion" by the Talking Heads. I interpret this particular track as an exercise in irony and social commentary (so excellently entwined by David Byrne et al), highlighting both society's obsession with analyzing and dramatizing every one of our personal problems, and our lack of true interest in the plight of others. Of course, this could be considered an exaggeration of the extent of our culture's narcissism (perhaps greater in the 1970s and '80s!), but this song always brings a moment of self-reflection for me - I stop and ask myself, am I getting so overwhelmed with my own private concerns that I run out of energy to have compassion for anyone else?

This is where the concept of self-compassion comes in. When we are able to nourish our own selves with forgiveness, understanding, patience, and acceptance, we will then be able to turn to our friends and family with an open heart, open mind, and open arms. If we are constantly bogging down our mind with negative thoughts, we will never be able to see the light and love that exists in the universe, let alone be able to accept this light and love into our own selves or share it with others.

So whatever your "problems" are, realize that they are simply an impermanent obstacle to achieving your goals. Of course, most problems do not just go away - they often require hard work and determination to overcome - but by dwelling on them and allowing our problems to overwhelm our mind we give these impermanent things too much power, which could lead to thoughts about our problems pervading all aspects of our lives, putting us in a state of depression or anxiety. Utilize your yoga/meditation practice or regular exercise routine to help move the negative thoughts and emotions through your body, expelling them into the earth where nature will compost it. Then, once you've cleared your organism of this negativity, you can approach your problems with a more focused mind and get a better grasp of how to "fix" your problems with clarity and positivity.

Whatever your journey is to overcome in this life, you must be sure to have compassion for yourself, while also maintaining an awareness that everyone you encounter is also undergoing struggle and hardship. Recognizing this will help you to remember to be patient and forgiving, and that we are all one. Your problems may appear smaller or bigger than your neighbor's, but that is beside the point. The point is: Life is hard, and that's OK. So the next time you get caught up or overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and envision a big beaming light bursting out of your hearth, covering first yourself with its warm loving rays and allowing this to pervade your whole being, then radiate this compassionate love and warmth out to the universe.

Allow your heart to shine inward on yourself first, and then allow that love-light to reflect back out to others. Forgive yourself, and be patient even when you notice yourself getting caught up in your own problems. Remind yourself that growth and change is a slow process, filled with ups and downs, and that it's important to be gentle and understanding about your progress. Your self-love will help feed your ability to love and care for others, ultimately creating a positive cycle of compassion.

So love, forgive, and have compassion. For yourself, and for all creatures in the universe. It will be a daily struggle, but one worth the effort. Enjoy the journey ;) 

with love and compassion,


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