The52: Lesson Forty Two — Do You Include Yourself in Compassionate Thinking?

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If your compassion doesn’t include yourself,

it is incomplete.

                                   Jack Kornfield

What about you?  Can you be sensitive, caring, and extend kindnesses to others while ignoring yourself completely?  Are you able to look with understanding on the “failings” and sad situations of others in their struggles, yet hold back the same level of compassion for yourself?  It seems that some of us “buy into” the notion that expressing compassion for our selves is egotistical and inappropriate.  How dare we make the same allowances for ourselves as we might convey to others in pain!

Compassion must begin at home, in ourselves.  If we do not consider ourselves worthy and deserving of this self-care, then how can we legitimately pass it on to others?  Compassion must grow from a sense of self-love and from our own open hearts.

LESSON FORTY TWO

COMPASSION

Compassion!  I have written on many subjects that relate to this issue of compassion — kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, and love — but not directly focusing on compassion.  Yet compassion, for others and for ourselves, offers us spiritual insights that the other topics do not.  It engages a sense of empathy that allows us to enter into a special place with another.  We “walk in their shoes.”

Can you, on a constant level, use the practice of compassion to alter how you see yourself and others in the world?  Can you bring compassion into your awareness even at times when your anger has been activated and your impatience has risen too high?  I have often found this to be a challenge.  I can easily site chapter and verse when I lacked compassion for myself and for others.  Until I learned to practice forgiveness in all ways, (which may not happen instantaneously but is a process), I allowed myself to be tortured in this unhealthy state.

Maybe some of these suggestions will be helpful to you:

  • Engage the silent witness practice, which I have written about previously.  Stand aside from yourself and look with compassion and great kindness on yourself no matter what you have done in the present or past.  See yourself through the eyes of one who is all forgiving and loving.  It could be represented by a deity, an angel, a loving parent, a spirit guide, God, but, ultimately, it is YOU.  It is always the heart connection within yourself.
  • Look all around you – in the present and into the past.  Are there other fellow human beings you have cut out of your circle of acceptance due to disagreements, political persuasion, class lines, or anything else.  You can take a try at engaging acceptance and compassion by seeing them through impartial eyes or as they may see the world.  Aren’t you doing more damage to yourself than to them by seeing yourself as superior or self-righteous in your attitude?  Maybe those assessments are covers for your own damaged self that could use some healing.
  • Now take a moment to think about other co-habitants in the world – the animals, plants, the whole of ecology.  We humans have so often wantonly destroyed our own home, decimating animal populations and forests, for example.  Everything is part of the same energy system.  Just maybe that tree you just chopped down and that deer you just shot is related to your own soul – especially if these acts were for personal gain and not necessity.
  • Remember, as is the philosophy in The 52, that you use none of these lessons in such a way that you feel less loving to yourself.  Everything unfolds with Divine Consciousness in this play of the world.  Every practice you use is meant to increase the Love you feel for yourself.

As the Dalai Lama has observed:

It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion towards others.  

If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.

Whenever there is a choice, choose Love, for yourself and others.  It is an easy choice and always the right one.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

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About deannemincer

Deanne Mincer has been a long time student of religious and spiritual studies. For many years, she was a practitioner of yoga and in the late 1980's she was drawn to share her enthusiasm by becoming a yoga teacher. Her certification, from the Himalayan Institute, was a comprehensive two year program including the study of anatomy, diet, nutrition, Ayurvedic medical practices, the methods of teaching hatha yoga, the science of breath and the study of raja (the royal path of yoga) philosophy. She has taught yoga, meditation, and spiritual classes for more than twenty years. In the mid 1990's she became a follower of Siddha Yoga where she experienced a spiritual awakening called shaktipat and her teachings took on a new and freshly informed understanding. As Deanne continued her studies, she learned level one in Reiki and also sutdied with Henry Grayson, Ph.D. where she refined her work with muscle testing and the complex of energy healing methods Dr. Grayson has developed for use with his patients. Dr. Grayson's work is illuminated in his books, Mindful Loving and Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind. Deanne teaches group and private classes in yoga as well as stress reduction programs and meditation in many forms (sitting, walking, whirling, meditation in action, and "sleeping" meditation called yoga nidra). She has developed methods of using yoga in treating those with life threatening diseases as in the programs she designed for Gilda's Club and Friends in Deed in New York City. She was a consulting producer on an alternative health program for CNBC's Alive and Wellness, and she has demonstrated yoga on network television. Deanne created the audio DC, Inner Light Yoga with Deanne Mincer and she has spoken widely and demonstrated meditation in many venues. Deanne is an enthusiastic and joyful teacher. She is known for the keen interest she takes in her students' physical and spiritual development. She stresses that each student should work at their own pace in a non-competitive and caring environment. You can read some of the comments her students have shared in the Tesimonials Section of this site. Her teaching is grounded in her own steadfast spiritual awareness - that each of us is a being of eternal light and love and that we can all come to knowing this truth for ourselves. She is eager to help guide you on this joyful path of body, mind, breath and spirit.

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