The Practice of Compassion

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Hmm….random bench in a park? Nope, not just any park.

It’s from my old elementary school. A place that, unfortunately, doesn’t hold very many happy memories for me. The inspiration for what I wanted to write about today guided me to this picture. Let me explain.

The other day I watched a video on YouTube that infuriated me. I will not reference that video because I don’t want to call any more attention to it. Suffice to say, it made me feel pretty angry. The thoughts running through my head about the person who made the video are perhaps a little too inappropriate for this entry so I won’t say them here.

I realized that when I was experiencing this anger, my “politically correct self” would chime in and say – you shouldn’t think that way, it’s not right, you’re spreading negative energy towards this person, remember a little thing called karma? etc etc. After fighting with myself in my head (a long commute home is great for this!) I finally just allowed myself space to vent my frustrations. What would be the worst thing if I actually allowed myself to feel that anger without passing judgement.

So I did.

Then I made a conscious decision to let it go. I didn’t want to sit and stew about it anymore. I had made space for it, but that didn’t mean I was just going to let it run the show for my entire day. After I made that decision, I asked myself an important question.

How can I have compassion for this person?

It’s so easy to feel compassion for innocent children, animals, kind, decent hard working people who are facing hardships of all kinds. But how about trying to feel compassion for the person that cuts you off in traffic? A person being rude to you? Someone being self righteous, arrogant or just down right snotty and inconsiderate?

Whole different ballgame. At least for me it is.

I know myself to be quite judgmental, especially when it comes to the latter as mentioned above. I am practicing to be less judgmental as a whole because truly we are all fighting our battles and deal with circumstances in our lives quite differently. So I thought about the person who made the video and suddenly a light bulb went off.

This person is teaching me to become a much more compassionate being.

All of a sudden, the anger just melted away and all I could feel was love for this person. Talk about A-HA moment!

Then I started reflecting on all of the people in my life who had ‘challenged’ me to say the least. Those who bullied me when I was in school, those who were critical of me, mean to me, said things that hurt my feelings.

Those people helped to shape me into the person I am now. Because of the difficulties that I faced, I have become a much more compassionate person. I feel that I am becoming better at practicing compassion in my daily life. I feel that it’s definitely a practice and one that I will continue to grow and improve in.

I’m in no way supporting those who try to deliberately hurt other people or to excuse this type of behaviour. We are all responsible for what we put out there and must face the consequences of that. But I’ve learned that simply allowing myself to remain annoyed or angry at something isn’t constructive either.

Sometimes it’s those who challenge us the most that really open and expand our hearts and souls, if we choose.

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