Many people carry the perception that it is difficult to cultivate spiritual practices...that a great deal of restraint and discipline are required to accomplish this goal. We are often encouraged by inspirational leaders throughout the world to practice love and compassion in our every interaction and, sometimes, this may feel very challenging given the intensity of our own triggers and the pain we may have been holding as a result of them.
But, introducing the actual practice of COMPASSIONmay be as simple as expressing interest and curiosity about how an event that has just transpired has affected another. Most likely, this would occur after we have expressed our own reaction or response to what has just happened. Admittedly, it is very easy to carry on for a while about how things feel to us but what if we turned to another after we have spoken our thoughts and simply asked, "How did you experience this?"
With just these few words we have moved beyond the narrow and very specific subject of OUR reaction and generously expressed our curiosity and concern about how another has been affected. Whether we have been an agent in the action or whether the action has been graced, supported, imposed or inflicted on ourselves and others, the very act of asking someone how this felt to them would naturally influence the way we might choose to respond.
Now, with this interaction...the knowledge and awareness of how both parties are experiencing the moment...we naturally begin to consider how the emotional needs of both persons are presenting themselves and can be addressed. And, when both persons feel heard and cared about, things move forward with mutual support and consideration…and, ultimately, with COMPASSION for each other.
Though amazingly powerful, Love directed responses are innately and profoundly simple. They emanate from the heart and feel generous and joyful and soothing to our spirit. If mindfully cultivated, just a very slight change in the pattern of our reaction to distressing moments can redirect us into the flowering of a beautiful spiritual practice:
How did you experience this?
image from arocordis.com
Two Flowers Floating, Watercolor.