When we step out of distraction, the gift of mindfulness allows us to see what’s really happening around us. We tune into the joys and the struggles of humanity wherever we are; we see and hear compassion everywhere. Listening to the radio this morning, I heard the poetry of Bengali workers in Singapore. My heart wept tears for families who’ve been separated for so long, sometimes for years, missing each other: “what you and I have, is remembering.”
Compassion connects us, with insight and kindness, to reality as it presents itself in a flow of unfurling moments forming and dissolving, like bubbles in a stream. Compassion connects to the overlooked sorrows and hidden parts of life. And then it responds — wanting ourselves and others to be free from suffering. Compassion happens when I feel unselfishly sorry with, not for, you, caring about your pain and my own, and wanting to help.
With compassion, the pain and difficulties we face become part of the path of mindfulness, instead of obstacles to finding the relief we know mindfulness can bring. There’s no way to be bad at compassion, or to fail, because we’re not trying to force anyone or anything to be other than how they are. Our effort in practice is to receive the situation in willing awareness.
Compassion is a channel of perception, a kind of resonance frequency we can tune into in a way that softens and opens the heart. In our openness, the sufferings we meet touch us profoundly. We feel the pain, but there grows a new relationship to it. Our own pain and all around us is held in a tender heart. And then… joy and sorrow can peacefully co-exist. We remember.
Image Credit: T. Goodman