Compassion can be hard. On Monday of last week, I found out about a project that I needed to be a part of on the following Sunday. This was the first I heard of it. My instinct was one of the ruffled feather variety. “Too bad, I don’t have time,” were the first words on my lips. I have appointments, a 5K race and a job. Did I also mention I’m trying to become a consistent blogger? How was I to fit this into my busy schedule? But then, I thought about the other person. I could do this and help someone who already had a crazy week ahead. The project involved two writing projects (one of which I had already started) and, I might mention, I love to be called upon to write. Also it involved working with one of my best friends. I pulled my bottom lip in and got started-and loved doing it.
I sometimes wonder if the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa ever had a hard time with compassion. Did Mother Teresa ever want to feign a cough so she could hide behind her veil and roll her eyes at some unenlightened soul ignoring the poor? Probably not. She is a ‘saint’ and she received that designation in a split second.
Try though I may, I’m far from the compassionate person I strive to be. I could tell you stories-others could tell you stories. I’ve made a few glaring mistakes in regards to compassion. Kindness to a person who’s unkind to my children is especially a challenge. I’m definitely a work-in-progress when it comes to the ‘Golden Rule’.
Meditation helps me to be a more compassionate person. I have a great app called Insight Timer that allows me to connect with 1.5 million practitioners worldwide. We are ‘out of the closet’ meditators but most people meditate. You may not have the pillow or special mantra. You may call it prayer or contemplative prayer or you may call it daydreaming, but you’ve probably been in a meditative state many times in your life.
Fun fact-Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Ms. Dickinson practiced meditation, so we’re in good company.
Another fun fact-I went up the stairs three times to find my Kindle with the information for the above fun fact. Each time I ascended the stairs, something unrelated to my mission pulled me off course. Now I have my Kindle but I also have laundry running and a cool picture of my meditation pillow.
It becomes clear as to why I struggle to stay focused on blogging, right?
I think I’m a little more patient and a little more compassionate through meditation. Compassion takes patience. People in need are not always nice people. This can be a challenge. If I’m being all rainbows and hearts to you, you should be thankful. It doesn’t always work that way. It takes patience and, we must remember, we never know what’s going on in the lives of others.
The funny thing about compassion is that it’s really easier to be kind than not to be kind to others. Your blood pressure might decrease if you try not to dwell on the driver that just cut you off. He may have just lost his job or one of his children may be in trouble. You never know. Try smiling. Some days I depend on the kindness of others when I’ve been walloped by the world. A simple smile can change my heart in a split second.
I know it’s sounds cliché but it we all tried to be a little nicer, maybe the world would be a nicer place to live. I may be naïve but I honestly believe this. We can make a difference and we’ll be happier because of it. Remember, we are all connected!