Compassion literally means “to suffer with.” It is the quivering of the heart in response to pain. But before we can experience deep compassion for the pain of the earth or humankind or every living species, we must first open to our own suffering. When we feel our suffering with an open heart, we slowly learn to be less afraid of it and we gain an opportunity to heal. The more we can open to the anguish in our own hearts, the less afraid we will be to feel the pain of the world. The two are not separate. By engaging in this process, we become what the Tibetan teacher Chogyam Trungpa calls a “courageous warrior. If you search for the awakened heart- there is nothing but tenderness. And if you open your eyes to the rest of the world you feel tremendous sadness. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. It is this tender heart of a warrior that has the power to the heal the world.” In the face of such human and ecological suffering, how do we keep coming back to openness and compassion? One of our best strategies is to foster in ourselves the quality of equanimity. We need a composed wisdom that does not resist the truth of the moment no matter how painful it is. ~Mark Coleman
when all is well, we remember…..holding on to this perfect moment then invites us to live well, to honor boundaries, and to hug tightly…..
When we feel separate and alone, we long to be held like a child in the compassionate heart of an all-loving mother, a merciful and accepting father. At these times we can reach out and offer our brokenness to this healing embrace. As Rilke puts it:
“I yearn to be held
In the great hands of your heart-
Oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life-”
When we feel held by a caring presence, by something larger than our small frightened self, we begin to find room in our own heart for the fragments of our life, and for the lives of others. The suffering that might have seemed too much can awaken us to the sweetness of compassion. ~Tara Brach
I am larger and better than I thought.
I did not think I held so much goodness.