How To Find Compassion In A World Filled With Grief
For the ordinary man or woman, the world is full of grief not compassion. Happiness eludes us because we seek to be constantly entertained or indulge our senses. Compassion for others is fleeting because we don’t even have compassion for ourselves. If love begins at home, why are we so hell bent on fear and loathing?
Finding compassion for yourself and expressing mindfulness in all your mundane activities is not as hard as you think.
Our problems and challenges arise because they are rooted in the thoughts, which dance in our minds. Much has been written and spoken about the mind. However, compassion is instinctual and goes beyond the mind.
Behavioral psychologists talk a good game about positive psychology and emotional intelligence thus, inventing a vocabulary stripped of all spirituality.
Their works are valid and inspire many of us to be all we can be. However, more should be said about compassion. Because most people want a world of goodness, we walk the path of compassion, realizing that there is more here than meets the eye. So we continue to investigate and consume multitudes of books, watch podcasts, and even participate in seminars. The root of our problems stem from our own minds, which are a checkerboard of crisscrossing reflections, opinions, and prejudices.
Because we think the mind is master of all things, we let it persuade us to do things that are not necessarily in our best interests.
Our state of consciousness shapes our world view. We start to believe in the fiction we have created. However, our lives are not centered on reality but only on what we perceive to be reality. To be in full rapport with life, the mind must be stripped clean of all thoughts. To do so, brings the practitioner into a state of presence. Once this is done, compassion becomes one of our closest friends.
For most people, mindfulness is a formidable challenge. Let your sense of positive psychology guide you to a state of Zen consciousness.
For this reason, it is our belief that the practice of Zen can pay huge dividends. Zen masters for centuries have counseled practitioners to focus on the tasks they do with awareness because Zen heightens our sense of compassion. It doesn’t matter what those tasks are. It can be doing the laundry as well as writing a client report. To act with consciousness requires absolute focus. Training the mind to respond in this manner will give you a cleaner sense of your own awareness. Compassion then flowers like a lotus.
One technique to use in getting there is meditation.
Meditation is not what you think and there are an infinite number of ways to do so. One way is to sit as motionless as possible and watch your breath. In Kashmir Shivaism, practitioners concentrate on the divine vibration. When you think about this closely, you come to recognize that without this vibration you wouldn’t be physically present anymore in the external world. Without the divine vibration, compassion would not be possible.
It is not necessary to count your breaths.
although some practitioners do so. Listen closely to the sound it creates. In Sanskrit they refer to this as the So Ham or the Hamsa mantra. It is natural to all living beings. You need not change your belief system nor engage with any rituals. Just be. The blissful state that ensues stills bodily functions and quiets all discursive thoughts. Concentrating on the breath is nothing new. In fact, it is quite an ancient technique. As Lama Govinda wrote, it gives you a lucid path to experience personal development: “This state of perfect mental and physical equilibrium results in inner harmony where serenity and happiness fills the whole body with supreme bliss.”
What is the most striking about the practice of mindfulness is the process of breathing.
Breath is the connecting link between the the conscious and subconscious mind, between the gross material plane and those planes of finer substance. What I particularly love about this practice is the fact you gain access to your very own voice rooted in authenticity. True personal development is impossible unless live the experience.
Many meditators use sounds, better know as mantras to fill their thoughts. Others use visualization of images of saints or masters. Although these work, there will come a time when you must relinquish these props. The term here is surrender, an often misinterpreted concept. This is why Zen masters prefer to focus on the breath, and to give into it totally. Let your mind be reabsorbed into its own state of being. Buddhists call this the void. It is total emptiness. Only when you come out of this state do you recognize that this is where you have been.
The uniqueness of Zen practice lies in totally freeing the mind and its bondage to all objects, visions, or imaginings.
Total freedom is intense. It gives you the power of the force. Now, when you act, you are consciously presence in the present moment at all times. The mind no longer swings like a monkey on a tree nor are you held hostage to your emotions and feelings. You see quite quickly that you are not your life situations. Most people will never experience that and I find this a shame. It is not that they can’t experience this. They can. They have chosen not to do so because they enjoy the fiction of the personhood they have created for themselves. Plato addressed these points avidly in his dialogues. Sadly, no person can give this experience to another. He or she can be guided by a master, but it is up to you to make it happen. This is why it is referred to as self realization.
The take-away: As the renowned Zen master, Yasutani-Roshi aptly said, “You are the dharma to perfection!” Most of us don’t see this. We see the glass is half empty not that it is half full. We fail to see the yin and yang need each other to complete the circle. The good news is that you are already the circle. There is nothing to seek, nothing to buy, and essentially nothing to do. Just be who you really are. So what are you waiting for?
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About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a speaker, coach, and author. He is also a marketing strategist in career transformation at CAREO, a division of Whitefield Consulting Worldwide. If you are an optimist and seek a holistic approach to fulfilling your objectives on any project, contact Whitefield Consulting Worldwide for further counsel.
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