Day 2: Compassion is not at all weak ~ Sharon Salzberg
Music Credit: “Awash” by Gavin Luke
Practicing compassion makes you powerful, not a victim!
Compassion is the feeling of wanting to ease the suffering of others. Self-compassion is the feeling and desire that we, ourselves, not suffer.
Being compassionate does not make us a doormat to be walked over. In the words of Sharon Salzburg, “Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world.”
When talking about the compassion meditation we often refer to the tenderhearted concern a parent has for their child. For example, if a child is in pain or experiencing joy a parent would feel the pain and joy of the child, which would lead to rejoicing in the child’s happiness or concern for the child’s pain.
Compassion helps make more caring parents and partners. Studies show that when people experience compassion their brains scans show activation in systems known to support parental nurturance and other caregiving behaviors.
By practicing the compassion meditation where we become aware of and concerned with the suffering of others, the idea is to expand that feeling of closeness beyond our immediate family members to strangers and even those who are somewhat difficult to deal with.
We all share common aspirations like wanting to be happy and free of suffering. So by reflecting on our interconnectedness we realize that all people contribute directly or indirectly to our own accomplishments and well-being. Reflecting on our interconnectedness is the catalyst for compassion.
Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world.~ Sharon Salzburg
THE COMPASSION MEDITATION PRACTICE
Begin today’s meditation by taking five deep, slow breaths. Breathe in through your nose slowly to the count of 6, hold your breath for 2 counts, and exhale slowly to the count of 6. Do this for a total of 5 breaths.
With your hands resting on your lap, or on your heart if you wish, recite the loving kindness phrases and really try to generate the feelings of kindness, friendliness and compassion. Starting with yourself, say:
May I be free from suffering. May I be peaceful and truly happy. May I be well in body, mind and heart. May I live with ease.
As you feel the warmth coming from your heart, a sincere desire that you not suffer, see if you can extend that feeling to someone you care about. Imagine a dear friend or loved one and repeat the phrases:
May you be free from suffering. May you be peaceful and truly happy. May you be well in body, mind and heart. May you live with ease.
Finally, as you bask in these wonderful feelings of kindness and compassion, extend the wish to all beings on the planet.
Spend a few minutes allowing this wave of loving kindness to swirl around you and radiate out from you. I will sound a bell when the meditation period is over.
Take this feeling of connectedness with you throughout your day. Always remembering that you, too, are worthy of a life free from suffering, full of peace and true happiness.
Please share this 21-day challenge with your friends and loved ones using the hashtags #Compassion #Meditation