As we embrace our heart and bring tenderness into our life, we can also begin to recognize we have empathy and compassion for others in the world. When we look out upon the world with love, what we see becomes more than what we believed it to be. It is not the world of fear, scarcity and anger, it is now a world of potential, of community, of all beings as One.
I know at times that I can be entranced by old patterning and beliefs and not want to even think about being compassionate to others or either to myself. Yet, compassion and empathy practices can assist us in the expansion of our heart. The key here as always is practice.
When we can observe and understand that everyone in this world desires the same basic tenets of happiness, safety, security, well-being, peace and a life at ease, we do see our commonalities instead of focusing on the differences that have deeply divided us. We may explore this differently in our lives, but the deepest desires are there. As we evolve on our spiritual journey, we no longer focus on what divides and seemingly conquers us. Instead we build bridges where walls once stood. We lend a hand where guarded isolation appeared. We smile where once we cowered in terror. We join in harmony as the true nature of the world, the Divine, the Essence of All That Is, would have us do.
It may seem like small steps to take, but those who are willing to embark on those steps will be the light bearers of our time. We are the light of the world and it is our function to assist others through forgiveness, compassion, and understanding. The light in us can awaken it in our brothers and sisters here. Be that light. Bring that light of awareness to all.
The key to developing compassion in your life is to make it a daily practice.
Meditate upon it in the morning, think about it when you interact with others, and reflect on it at night. In this way, it becomes a part of your life. Or as the Dalai Lama also said, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” You can use practices such as Loving-Kindness (also called Metta), Just Like Me, Karuna, Tonglen, and others.
In this practice, I ask that you proceed gently. Create a sacred space for this process. Set a journal by your side to capture any thoughts that emerge.
You can use the video or the directions below.
Meditation on the Heart
- Begin by sitting in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Let go of your thoughts and the outside world for the time being.
- Focus your attention on the middle of your chest, your heart center, and be aware of your heart as sacred space. This center is a point of awareness where feelings arrive. In its essence, the heart is pure, infused with peace and an exquisite light. This light may appear to you as white, gold, purple, or blue, or any other color of the rainbow. Don’t strain to envision a light though; all you need to feel is whatever is present.
- Resting your attention easily on your heart center, breathe gently and sense your breath streaming into your heart. You may imagine light or sensations such as warmth or coolness permeating the chest.
- Let your breath inhale and exhale, and as it does, ask your heart what it needs to express to you. Offer only a gentle intention that you want your heart to express itself.
- For the next 5 or 10 minutes, be still and listen. You may find your heart to begin releasing emotions, memories, wishes, fears, and dreams it has long reserved within you. As it does, pay attention without judgment. You may have a gleam of strong emotion—positive or negative—or a long, forgotten memory. Your breathing may change. You may sigh, or feel tears wet your eyes. Let the experience be what it is at this time. If you find your mind has wandered, don’t worry. Just bring your attention back to your heart center.
- When you feel complete, allow the session to close naturally. Take your time, becoming first aware of your surroundings, and softly open your eyes. Sit for a few moments to absorb the experience. You may wish to write in your journal afterward.