More than a few times over the years, yoga students have asked me: How do I bring compassion to myself? I’ve not heard this lately, however. Is it because the answer to the question seems too far out of reach?
Yet, bringing compassion to our own process may be more important than ever; it’s not about being overly optimistic but about realizing the effort is essential. When isn’t it relevant to protect the heart from shrinking into disappointment, frustration, anger, or worse?
There is a time to stand up, of course, to be firm against wrongdoing, and there’s also a time to be still, to seek advice from our own intuition or from respected others. When I observe how how our local deer slip from human dangers of the valley into mountain lion forest territory with a total and alert simplicity, I begin to understand the broad scope of what compassion requires of us.
Compassion comes naturally out of a commitment to something beyond our questioning concerns–by learning to listen and to be fully present. Compassion, in it’s essence, is the action of experiencing a neutral connection to all that exists within and without.
Compassion is not cynical or fearful. Compassion sometimes feels raw, because it also connects us to unknown results and consequences. The personal investigation of when to stretch, when to release, when to stop and when to embrace life beyond the constraints of ego is, surely, a worthwhile practice.
Gudrun Mouw (c)
Sept. 15, 2017