Compassion is the ability to feel sympathy, empathy, love and humanity for others who are suffering. Compassion can be extended to those in physical pain, mental pain, social conflict, financial hardships and many other situations. How about holding compassion for somebody who is lashing out in anger or fear? In current society there are so many stressors and overwhelming stories of suffering that we often become numb, desensitized and walled off. Seeing and feeling the pain of the world around us can create a constriction in the heart energy center (chakra). Slowly we reduce our compassion toward others and ourselves out of emotional self preservation. This response begins to snowball into apathy, indifference and a jaded heart. How can we continue to expand our ability to express and offer compassion, love and assistance? First we must recognize that there is a difference between being emotionally reactive and dragged into other peoples’ suffering versus holding space of compassion. It is not a requirement to suffer with the sufferer. Compassion is a multi-textured response to suffering that includes kindness, empathy, generosity, courage, acceptance and hope for healing.
There are several meditation techniques that help open the heart energy centers and cultivate compassion. Meditation can dissolve the walls and barbed wire around our hearts making us more courageous to have empathy for others in suffering. Empathy and action does not require pain on the sympathizers part. By practicing compassion during meditation, we strengthen our endurance and ability to continue cultivating progress towards healing.
First, I recommend coming into quiet safe seated position with your hands in open heart mudra. Quiet your mind and bring all your attention to your breath. Let your breath become calm and full. Begin to visualize your heart center opening and being nourished by loving light. Imagine your heart overflowing with love, kindness and understanding.
Then begin practicing mettā love by visualizing love, understanding and kindness flowing from your heart to those you love and respect. See those you love and respect as happy and at peace. Now visualize that love flowing to people who are just acquaintances. Picture all your acquaintances happy and at peace. Now imagine those who you have conflict with. Offer the same level of mettā love. Visualize compassion flowing between you and them as a buffer, a neutralizer that can dissolve difficulties and emotional patterns established between each other. See both of you happy and a peace, loved and understood. Imagine compassion, peace and understanding enveloping every being and entire planet like a blanket of love.
Next, using a set of mala/japa beads repeat the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum 108 times. Om Mani Padme Hum is a beautiful mantra that has been used in meditation for thousands of years. The vibrations of the spoken words are powerful for bringing compassion, wisdom, ethics and patience. Repeating the mantra opens the lotus flower in heart center revealing the jewel of compassion. The mantra Om Mani Padme Hum releases the human heart of pride, jealously, ignorance, prejudice, greed and hatred.
Try this practice for 40 days and see how you feel. Mantra and meditation can truly transform emotional patterns to create peace and love.
Dr. Christie Smirl has over 25 years of medical experience. She completed a Doctorate of Ayurvedic Medicine from American University of Complimentary Medicine as well as Nurse Practitioner and Master of Science from Loma Linda University. Dr. Christie is also an E-RYT 500 Yoga Teacher Trainer YACEP, Reiki Master/Teacher, Tantric Energy Healer and Musician.
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