When people are on their deathbed, you never hear about them wishing they'd been more of a jerk or been harder on their kids and family. If anything, there are sentiments like "I should have told my family I loved them more" or, "I wish I'd been more compassionate to the people in my life."
We all know compassion is a good thing—in theory. In practice, however, sometimes we forget. Life's irritations and frustrations can get in between us and our natural benevolence. Anger and pain can bring us down and make us fearful. From fear stems lack—thinking we don't or won't have enough. Lack makes us contract in our lives instead of expanding and opening our hands and hearts to the world.
When it comes down to it, the real meaning in our lives is born of love and connection to others and how we have shared ourselves and witnessed others sharing themselves with acceptance and understanding. All the achievements and money are nice and pad the journey with pleasantness and validation, but the true meaning comes from how we have cared for others and felt their caring for us.
Of course, that translates to our friends and family. It also translates to how we relate to the world at large—how we have shared and loved and the kindness we have spread.
The magic ingredient to an amazing life filled with connection, caring, sharing, and true abundance is compassion. It gives meaning to the seemingly meaningless. It brings positive feelings to what appears empty. Compassion takes a beautiful life and makes it sparkle and radiate through the universe.
Compassion creates a heart that is full and open, one that is giving and receiving the beauty of positive emotions. These positive emotions inspire our bodies to release feel-good chemicals. Compassion can be addicting in the best way!
Exploring kindness and compassion will increase your quality of life and the sincerity with which you interact with the world. You will feel more and let your heart open through caring. It's very healing to be kind and let down some of our guard. It means we are acknowledging benevolence in a world that is primarily out of our control. It means we are moving closer to trusting life. It means we are moving closer to love—the magic ingredient to everything.
Activity: Deep Compassion
In this activity we are going to go deep into your inner well-spring of compassion. You can imagine this as an endless pool of soft, clear energy in the center of your heart. Today you'll tap into that and access it.
Close your eyes for a moment and place your hands on the center of your chest, your spiritual heart. Take a few deep breaths and calm your mind. Now bring your attention to the center of your chest. Feel it pulsing. Feel your hand powering it up and interacting with it. Feel the love contained within you. Notice the energy there. Is it a color? Just one color? Or many colors? Does it feel more like light, fog, sparkles, liquid, or smoke? Or something else?
Now say aloud or in your mind, "I now connect with my deep inner compassion. And I let it bubble forth to the surface."
Notice what that feels like. Does it feel warm, tingly? Like a cool breeze? Take a few minutes and just experience that. You can repeat the word "compassion" like a mantra while you do this.
When you're done, grab your notebook or journal and jot down some notes about what it felt like. Now tap back into that same feeling and ask your heart how you can be compassion in action. Do you need to do anything in particular? Think anything in particular? Make any notes about that.
When that feels complete, thank your heart for allowing you to go deep within and experience that inner compassion. And bring that essence with you back into your day.
Excerpted from The Compassion Revolution, by Amy Leigh Mercree.