The Practice of Compassion

Pema Chodron talks about compassion and says: “When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience our fear of pain. COMPASSION PRACTICE IS DARING. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. In cultivating compassion, we draw from the wholeness of our experience, our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror. It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” I have read this passage numerous times and find it to be one of the most profound on the subject. In practicing compassion, I always start by looking within. When I can see myself in another human being, that IS daring. We don’t want to admit or recognize ourselves in the behaviors of others, especially when those behaviors are unacceptable or hurtful. Compassion is the wholeness of this experience. It can be challenging to show compassion to others when they do not appear to be extending compassion themselves. What I have learned is that this is when this humbling quality is needed the most.

 

What are some of the ways you show compassion to others?

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