The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering or unhappiness and feel motivated to help them.
Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related.
While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help.
Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it.
Scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, care-giving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.
A few years ago, as I was working with someone who was often challenging me, I found I was getting irritated by her responses to me and other’s around her.
What ended up happening, during group meditation, my heart expanded more than it ever had in that short period of time. I felt the enormous feeling of compassion toward this woman. I saw she was operating from fear, similar to how a small child might.
I became more patient with her and the irritation was replaced with compassion.
Meditation, calming yourself and becoming still using nature music, using visualizations, guided meditations or whatever form you choose, is a fairly fast way to feel compassion. Always using your breath. Taking slow breaths in and out.
Taking the time to understand people and their outlook, will help you to find compassion. It’s only human to make occasional snap judgments about others, through a lack of understanding.
If you take the time to find out who people really are, and treat them with loving kindness, they may astonish you with the wisdom they can impart or the love they can share.
I wonder, are you able to feel compassion for yourself? Do you stop long enough when you’re feeling afraid of something or you’re acting in a way that’s not serving you, to realize you too are in need of compassion? Can you be gentle with yourself? Think about it.
When you can do what happened for me, knowing that this woman was coming from a place of fear, will you open yourself up to feel compassion for yourself and others?
Recently with all of the hurricanes, fires and mass shootings, we all have witnessed the compassion for others. The basic human spirit has come through in all of these communities where the first instinct was to help. Many with no regard to their own safety.
I think that the majority of us do feel compassion regularly. It’s a deep part of who we are.
Leave me a comment will you please with your thoughts about how you feel about compassion?
With love, blessings and compassion,
PS. Update on my nephew Login. Login was hit while on his motorcycle just 3 weeks ago. The prayers so many have sent, the love of his parents, and the strength that Login has to fight for his life, all are reasons he has healed to where he is today.
Just over 2 1/2 weeks after his accident, Login was released from the rehab center and will begin outpatient therapies M-F. His memories are coming back, he knows people and his neurons in his brain are beginning to fire again. When I saw the photo of Login walking out of the rehab center the other day, being cheered on by all of the staff lining the hallway, I became quite emotional.
So thank you for your continued prayers as Login’s brain needs lots more time to heal so he will make a full recovery.
PSS. Join me and a small group of people October 5-12, 2018 for our Kauai Spiritual Vacation Retreat. You will be pampered with massage, our own chef and guides as we explore this magical island. You will learn 10 of my favorite Universal Laws to carry into your daily life to transform how you view this world.
Yoga and meditation, sound healing and so much more are part of this unique retreat. All information and past retreat videos are here: https://www.conniehertz.com/retreat
Contact me ASAP if this is calling to you! There are limited spots available for this retreat. Aloha!