Category Archives: compassion

Christmas Light Meditation

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I put up the rest of the Christmas lights today,
took time arranging and rearranging them,
imagined others seeing them
and enjoying their cheerful colors.
My hands became cold and I went inside
periodically to warm up.
I thought about what a luxury it is
to string up these lights
and I wondered if it’s completely insane
to use electricity to power them.
I felt grateful for the warmth of my home
and how it took the sting of cold away,
and my heart ached for those who have no home
to go home to.
I wondered how they survive the night
when it’s cold like this,
what it must feel like to know they have no shelter.
As I peer deeper into ordinary moments
I see this enormous opportunity
to be more awake, more aware.
May I awaken for the benefit of all beings.
May my life energy help end the suffering
of all beings.

The Voice of Compassion

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I’m here preparing my workshop
on self-compassion.
It’s late, nearly 12:30 am.
I can hear the inner critic say,
There you go again,
leaving everything to the last minute.
When will you learn?
When will you grow up?
It shakes its head and clucks about…
meanwhile I take a deep breath
and give myself compassion…
Compassion for the girl
who works so hard to please others,
Compassion for the teacher
who wants so much to help others,
Compassion for the artist
who wants to express her creativity,
Compassion for the tired mama
who does so much for so many
every day…
Now the compassionate one says,
Go to bed darling,
you need rest.
And I’m glad I have this practice,
glad that I can hear that voice,
the voice of compassion.

Self Compassion Practice

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A sense of compassion welling up
from within,
remembering I am not alone
in these human struggles.
A more gentle way of looking at myself,
allowing myself to be imperfect,
to make mistakes, to fail.
Being mindful in the midst of challenges,
recognizing when it hurts,
being kind to myself
when the emotions are difficult
and the suffering intense.
This self compassion
may not come naturally,
but it is a skill and it can be taught.
May I summon my courage
and keep practicing
for the benefit of all beings.

The Best That Is Within Us

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We teach what we most need to learn,
and what we see in others
is simply a reflection of ourselves.
This realization washes over me
again and again
carrying with it
a sense of profound responsibility
and a drive to be even more awake
in my thoughts, words, and actions.
I am human,
and often I don’t succeed
in being the patient, loving person
I really want to be.
This is where self-compassion steps in
and reminds me that we all fail sometimes,
and my failure connects me with all other
fellow human beings
who have set their marks impossibly high
and who fall time and time again
stretching upwards to reach those marks.
May I be patient with myself.
May the patience I cultivate within myself
radiate outwards and bless the world
with the calm certainty
that we are all doing the best we can,
that we are all worthy of forgiveness,
and we can all keep trying one more time
to bring forth the best that is within us.

The Cooling Waters of Compassion

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Breathing in depression,
the feeling of loneliness, of heaviness,
of sadness,
breathing this in for myself and all beings
who are feeling this same way–
Breathing out clarity,
calm, confidence, motivation, joy,
letting this radiate out from me
to heal and bless the world.
Breathing in anger,
feeling hot, amped up, tense,
explosive, out of control,
breathing this in for myself and all beings
who are feeling this same way–
Breathing out peace,
stability, calm, clarity, slowing down,
choosing deliberately,
letting this radiate out from me
to heal and bless the world.
Difficult emotions are not reasons to escape,
to hide, to muffle, to change or to fix–
they are the very reason we practice.
They give us the reason we need
to see how our suffering is not unlike
the suffering of others.
We are linked in our suffering,
and recognizing this, we feel compassion.
When you feel pain,
feel it not only for yourself,
but feel it for all beings who are in pain.
Let your tender heart burst open
to shower an endless stream of compassion
on this world so thirsty,
so thirsty for the cooling waters of compassion.

Metta

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The Pali word metta
is translated as lovingkindness.
Metta meditation is a wonderful practice
in which we summon and extend
genuine feelings
of care, concern, compassion,
and good will
beginning by directing
these feelings toward ourselves,
and then sending these feelings
to a loved one,
then to a neutral person,
then to a difficult person
and finally to all beings.
We repeat the phrases of lovingkindness
while holding an image of the recipient
in our minds:
May I (you, all beings) be safe,
May I (you, all beings) be happy,
May I (you, all beings) be healthy
May I (you, all beings) be peaceful and at ease.
Imagine what a world this would be
if all beings practiced metta.
There is an opening in the heart,
a softness, a tenderness,
and in this place
there exists no intention to cause harm,
only the intention to help, and to heal.
Yes, imagine what a world this would be
if all beings practiced metta.

Looking Forward

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Look at the world with new eyes.
Give others a chance to surprise you.
Question what you think you see,
look deeper into the nature of things.
If you don’t like what you see
change the way you look
until you can be softened with compassion,
and from this place, act.
The world doesn’t need more violence.
Good people don’t need to be told how to live.
If everyone could look with new eyes
bullets would lose their appeal,
would cease to be made.
With my new eyes
I’m looking forward to that day.