Relief Practice. Remember our Empathy Practice from last week? Once you can empathize with another person, and understand their humanity and their pain, the next step is to want that person to be free from their suffering.
This is the heart of compassion. Actually, the definition of it.
Try this exercise:
Imagine the suffering of a human being you’ve met recently. Now imagine that you are the one going through that suffering, think about how much you would want it to end. How would you feel? How would you feel if you knew others felt your suffering and that they desire your’s to end. How would it feel if you imagined people helping you with opened hearts?
Practice sitting silently with yourself and imagine others suffering. Now imagine it dissolving as their heart and your heart opening up to a deeper level of compassion. Let yourself grow through your gratitude and envision others gratitude growing and sharing compassion with everyone Feel that growth bring relief to others and yourself as well.
Act of Kindness Practice. Acts of kindness flow naturally from a state of empathy and a desire to relieve the suffering of others. With conscious practice, acts of kindness can become a routine in your life that will impact others in a compassionate way.
Imagine the suffering of someone you know, your mother, father, sibling or friend. Imagine that you are that them and are going through that suffering.
What would you like for that person to do to end your suffering?
Now reverse roles: you are the person who desires for the other person’s suffering to end.
Imagine that you do something to help ease the suffering, or end it completely. Envision that person healing and doing great. See them in perfect health and happiness.
Once you get good at this stage, practice doing something small each day to help end the suffering of others, even in a tiny way. Even a smile, or a kind word, or doing an errand or chore, or just talking with a person about a problem they may be struggling with.
Practice doing something kind to help ease the suffering of others.
Here at Pure Hemp Botanicals, this is a pillar of our foundation as a company and as individuals. Find a way to make it a daily practice, and eventually a throughout-the-day practice.
Those Who Mistreat Us Practice. Practicing the ability to ease the suffering of those who mistreat us is the last step of our Cultivating Compassion practices.
When we are met with someone who mistreats us, we can often get angry or shut down. When you encounter that trigger, let it be, focus on staying in compassion and leave the anger for consideration when you are calm and more detached and then reflect on the person who mistreated you. Consider the background of that person. Who were they in kindergarten? What was their day or week like? What have they might be going through? What mood were they in?
Try to imagine the state of mind they may have been in when this happened?
As you practice understanding that their action was not about you, you can relieve suffering for you and the other person. Practice compassion for what they may have been going through.
Now think some more about the suffering of that person, and see if you can imagine trying to stop the suffering of that person. And then think about if you mistreated someone, and they acted with kindness and compassion toward you. You may find it less likely to mistreat that person the next time, and more likely to be kind to that person.
Once you have mastered this practice of reflection, try acting with compassion and understanding the next time a person treats you. Do it in little doses, until you are good at it. Practice makes perfect.
Evening routine: Each night, before bed, think about the people you met and talked to, and how you treated each other. Did you follow through with the goal to cultivate compassion in your life? How well did you do? Could you improve? If so what and how?
Think about your goal that you stated this morning, to act with compassion towards others. How well did you do? What could you do better? What did you learn from your experiences today? And if you have time, try one of the above practices and exercises.
Cultivating compassion can be done anywhere, anytime, any place. Starting your day with the first three practices, and ending it with the evening routine can help get you started. These practices can provide your life with more happiness for yourself and those around you.