A Practice for Greater Compassion
From the wonderful, Sunshine Steelman
So we are all not just living on our mats and then retreating to our homes to meditate and prepare meals of the freshest most organic ingredients we are actually living in the real world. And sometimes in the real world you may find yourself coming into contact with people who might frustrate or anger you. Imagine that instead of going home to lovingly prepare a fresh pressed juice to drink, you’re in a hurry and running through the nearest fast food drive thru (I know you would never do this ;-) and the person in front of you is taking a really long time to order and then can’t seem to find his or her wallet to pay and in the meantime you are getting more and more annoyed. Huffing and thinking to yourself how inconsiderate the person in front of you is, how self-involved, and what a generally terrible person they are. Stop. Think about yourself and the times when you haven’t been sure what you wanted to eat, the time that your wallet slid down between your seats and you both panicked because you thought you lost it and the relief you felt when you finally found it. Now apply those thoughts to the person in front of you: Oh he must not be certain what he’s hungry for just like me. She must have misplaced her wallet. I’ve done that and it feels awful.
This can apply to any situation where you start to feel frustrated because when that happens our tendency is to make the other person (the object of our anger and our frustration) into something fundamentally different from ourselves but if we can stop, and think, we can dwell on our similarities rather than our separateness.
Steps for greater compassion:
- Find places of commonality with the other person. (He does X just like I sometimes do X)