This morning as I relaxed in my soft and comfortable easy chair, I gazed out the window at the gorgeous powder puff scattered blue sky, while listening to the birds chirping, and enjoying the fresh morning air on my face. Sunshine sparkled on the dew kissed trees that swayed in the gentle breeze as nearby bamboo wind chimes rhythmically tap danced. In the midst of this delight, I pondered the word compassion.
The word immediately evoked a broad but rather impersonal sense of love and empathy. Love flowed from my heart toward nature, the earth and human beings in general. One aspect I noticed was that these feelings embraced everything outside of myself. For some reason I was not included in this loving embrace and that bothered me.
Everyone has their own unique relationship with compassion and express it in varying degrees in their life. For many it may be limited to their immediate loved ones or pets. For others it may equate to serving once a week at a homeless shelter. For another, donating a sum of money to a humanitarian cause may give their heart that warm and fuzzy feeling they are perhaps unknowingly seeking. For others it may remain on an emotional level and simply equate to a feeling of love for humankind, the creatures of this world, or the environment.
I pondered, what if we directed those soft and tender feelings that compassion evokes toward ourselves. Would that be so terrible? What if we were gentle and kind with our self and embraced our concerns, insecurities and daily worries with love.
When we ride in an airplane, the crew instructs us to place the oxygen mask on our face before we try to help others. In the same way, what if we made ourselves a priority and took the time to nurture our body, mind and spirit and enrich our lives. We would then be in a much better position to share kindness, love and compassion with others. Compassion could become a state of being, rather than a lofty thought or action outside ourselves.
So next time you think about compassion, try to encompass yourself inside the sphere of warmth, caring and love that it generates.