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How To Bring More Compassion Into The World

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A quality much needed in a divided world but not often encountered is compassion. Compassion is a way of connecting the love and self-awareness within yourself to another person. Compassion is more than kindness, then. It’s a natural expression of kindness and understanding when you love yourself. Without a sense of love inside, compassion has no foundation in consciousness.

There is a path to loving compassion, as with any spiritual quality.  The path has a beginning, middle, and end. Let me describe them to give you an idea of how the path unfolds.

Beginning: You see yourself as wanting and needing love, usually more than you are receiving. You may feel insecure about being lovable, and so you love others according to how much they love you or appeal to your sense of romance, sexuality, and compatibility. Relationships involve a constant negotiation between what you want and what your partner wants. The words that apply to love at this stage include passion, attachment, dependency, romance, mutual need, liking, and compatibility. The seed of compassion remains a seed.

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How To Claim Your Authenticity Through Shadow Work!

authentic

Shadow work is the process of looking at the wounded parts of ourselves with compassion, love, and understanding so we can transform them. So those parts of us no longer keep us stuck or in pain. 

When you do your shadow work, you set yourself free from the parts of you that have been hidden or that you’ve refused to look at. And as a result, you become more authentically YOU. 

The shadow self is born from the grief, guilt, shame, and pain that has accumulated throughout your life and has become ingrained in your patterns. Deep within you, beneath this conditioned self is something greater – something which you already are but which you haven’t been able to freely show or experience. This is your Divine uniqueness. 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Two Forms of Compassion

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What is compassion but drifting in the immensity of life with an open heart? We bump into and pass by so many torn and budding lives along the way. Some are like us, many are not—on the surface, but under it all, we remain the same ounce of spirit carried in skin and bone. One of our jobs, then, is to learn how to relate to the cascade of others that rise and fall around us. The practice of compassion is how we learn that we are each other. And the practice of expression is how the heart knows itself.

Early on in life, there is an initiation into the practice of compassion through the commonality of our experience with others. If I have suffered and healed from a broken heart, then when I witness your heart breaking, I can easily identify with what you’re going through. If you’ve lost your job and come into my life when I’m laid off, we can easily meet in our common struggle through adversity. If I’ve felt betrayed by a friend or loved one and I’m with you when you are betrayed, we can quickly form a bond that will help each other through. This sort of compassion, based on our common experience, is an ongoing apprenticeship that never ends.

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The One New Year's Resolution I Hope You Make...And Keep

2021 This one New Year’s resolution can change your life, heal your relationships, create health and well being, and heal our planet.

One of the most important aspects of Inner Bonding is opening to a compassionate intention to learn. I think a lot about love and compassion. Compassion is often more than people think it is.

Compassion does include the standard definition: the ability to feel empathy with another or others who are suffering, to be moved by the suffering and to want to help alleviate it.

 

But compassion is so much more…

It’s my experience that like love, we don’t generate it within ourselves; we open to it. Compassion, like love, peace, joy, grace and true wisdom, are gifts of spirit that we experience when we are open to learning about loving ourselves and others. These gifts are what the universe is. Compassion is a bright, light, loving energy that deeply connects you with yourself, others, animals and the planet.

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How To Change The World

love-of-planet-earth-in-the-clouds-picture-id472132175 “Live your life in a way that is the embodiment of what you are requesting.”

How can we make a difference in the world today? This is a big question with so much going on currently. It's clear that systems are changing, shifting - government, education, beliefs/racism, climate, environment, etc. But what about our own transformation, our own shift in consciousness? This is where it all starts. The way we operate within ourselves will change the actions being taken outside of ourselves. Listen to this episode and learn how to take different actions in our daily life to see the change we want to see in the world. If we all do our part, collectively with compassion, with love, we will create a new humanity together.

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Limitless Love on an Evolving Planet

IMG_0567-1200x900 Limitless Love on an Evolving Planet

Is love on a global scale, for oneself and others, possible? I believe it is, despite evidence to the contrary. Let’s face it. The current planetary paradigm that we inhabit is based in limitation. From a very early age, we are taught to curtail our heart’s desires for fear they will be crushed within a skewed social matrix that does not allow universal self-fulfillment and growth. Most social constructs in our world are organized on a top/bottom basis. Whether you are at the bottom or top, your life is limited by the very fact of inhabiting a limited paradigm. What would it take to shift that paradigm, to make it inclusive instead of exclusive? How about a complete transformation in global consciousness? Because until the collective consciousness changes, we are all caught in a web of limitation.

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Finding Our Common Ground

fallcalmwater Finding Common Ground
“Compassion removes the walls of mistrust and builds bridges of hope, trust and beliefs.” - Amit Ray

I've Been Thinking...

We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK.”

Those were the words that Ellen DeGeneres used to defend herself after people became outraged by a picture of her sitting next to former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game.

It was, and is, stunning to me that she felt she had to defend herself for sitting next to someone who she considers a friend, but who happens to have different political opinions. I mean, let’s all pause and let that sink in for a moment.

Two people watching a football game. Two people enjoying themselves and their friendship. Two people being kind to each other. That makes people mad?

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2 Secrets to Peace, Joy and Keeping Your Frequency High

compassionandgratitude 2 Secrets to Peace, Joy and Keeping Your Frequency High

A high frequency is necessary to feel love and joy, and to manifest your dreams. Learn two secrets to keeping your frequency high.

I have discovered that there are two choices I can make that, together, invariably put me into a high frequency and bring me inner peace and joy. While either of these choices are always beneficial, together they are incredibly powerful!

Gratitude

We all know how important gratitude is, but the problem is that often we express our gratitude in a fairly rote manner. The kind of gratitude I’m referring to is moment-by-moment gratitude for every big and little thing, and the overriding gratitude that we are never alone – that spirit is always here for us.

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How can you face the fear of suffering?

fearofsuffering How can you face the fear of suffering?

Suffering seems to be a fact of life. How do we face it?

Clearly it is a stranger to none of us. Perhaps we’ve not experienced the corrosive pain of illness, persecution, starvation, or violence. We may not have lived with the deterioration and loss of a loved one. Few of us have seen the charred face of a burned child. But each of us has experienced our fair share of not getting what we want or having to deal with what we don’t want. In this, we all know suffering.

The way in which we deal with suffering has much to do with the way in which we are able to be of service to others.

Of course, not all helping revolves around suffering. Much of what we offer may be in the nature of simple support or guidance. Moving a friend’s new furniture, teaching a child to read. But it is the affliction of others that most directly awakens in us the desire to be of care and comfort.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Range of Our Compassion

dont-worry-im-here-for-you-picture-id926537622 The Range of Our Compassion

Dogs can hear well beyond the range of human hearing. In California, it’s been reported that dogs have heard the beginnings of earthquakes before seismographs could register their initial tremor. In just this way, there are those of us whose ability to feel, see, and hear others is beyond our normal range of compassion. We call them empaths or psychics. And we often discredit them because what they know because is beyond what we can sense.

A central physic of the heart is that the range of our compassion is widened each time we experience suffering or love. Like a mud-filled pipe that is hollowed out by the rain to carry water underground, the force of each experience clears us out. Listening, expressing, and writing are conscious ways to clear ourselves out and to expose and extend the range of what we feel. And so, the artist or poet in us is that deep part of who we are that keeps extending the range of our compassion.

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839 Hits

This Is What Strong Leadership Looks Like

newzealand-landscape This Is What Strong Leadership Looks Like

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.”  — Simone de Beauvoir

In my time in Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games, I was struck by a few things.

1) How vast the world is and how small we all are in it;

2) How diverse the world is and how little we know about each other’s cultures, religions and customs;

3) How similar we actually are, regardless of the color of our skin or the God to whom we pray; and,

4) How much we all need inspiration and examples of courage and dignity in our lives.

These things have the power to lift us all up. They should give us hope that we can find common ground and that we are each capable of being the inspiration that we seek.

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Rising Out of Hardship

rising Rising Out of Hardship

I always hear what’s soft breathing inside what’s hard. I think this comes from my great-grandfather’s family, who hid from the Nazis in Romania, who slept in cemeteries under the blue night and woke with the stories of the dead, which filled them with resilience.

Just today, I heard a woman who’d been tortured softly play a wooden flute. Though she can’t put to rest what was done to her, her softness filled the room, making each of us think of someone who’s loved us more than we thought possible. And there was the minister born to blind parents. He said with a tremble that his father saw him better than anyone. And the burly electrician spoke of his colonel in Vietnam taking his dead friend from him when he couldn’t put him down. And two states away, the stepdad who never knew his father calls his stepson’s father to ask him to stay with them, because he wants his boy to have what he could never find. And just last week I met the nurse who helped me walk after surgery twenty-eight years ago. We cried in each other’s arms.

So if you think someone is brave, tell them. For they might feel frightened and small, and you will change their life. If you think someone is beautiful and aglow, tell them. For they might feel dark and lonely, and you will quiet their demons. When you reach to help someone who is stuck, you might free the flight of their soul. And they will return when you least expect, to bring you something from the sky. Never underestimate the strength of your kindness to suture the torn.

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1754 Hits

The Elements of Kindness

kindnesscover The Elements of Kindness
​I have been blessed with many moments of kindness by complete strangers. Most of them simple, but they stay with me. I often reflect on them, and hope that I have also shared kindness with those unknown to me. 
 
Roughly thirty years ago I was working in a bicycle shop in Sacramento, California. I loved it! I had eclectic coworkers and I received discounts on bikes and gear. After two years, I was ready to move on to a new adventure. I wanted to ride a mountain bike from Sacramento to Moab, Utah. My route was drawn on a map and I purchased the camping gear needed.   
 
I was young and my entire life plan only took me to Moab;  I was open to what the Universe offered me.
 
The trek was going to begin in June. I chose the roads least traveled, combined with some of our National Parks. I was planning a solo adventure, when a frequent customer, at the bike store suggested he join me. I don’t remember thinking it was either good or bad; just a different plan. 
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Be of Help to Others

helpingothers Be of Help to Others

Do not underestimate the impact of a small deed. 

What can I do?

The Practice:
Be of Help to Others.

Why?

I'm doing a series on my personal top five practices (all tied for first place), and have so far named three: meditate (including mindfulness, self-awareness, and, if you like, prayer), take in the good, and bless (including compassion, generosity, and love).

I saw one way to bless on a trip to Haiti, in the efforts of many dedicated people: be helpful. As you probably know, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with roughly 80 percent unemployment. The national government seemed like a tattered sheet in the wind. A public middle and high school I visited was missing half its schoolbooks as well as the funds for the last two grades. Imagine your own child in such a school . . . and that the $30 it takes to buy the books she needs is a month's wages, as out of reach as the moon.

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997 Hits

How To Be The Most Interesting and Charismatic Person

How To Be The Most Interesting and Charismatic Person How To Be The Most Interesting and Charismatic Person

The secret to being interesting is simple: Stop focusing so much on yourself.

When you stop trying to be the most interesting person, and you become genuinely interested in others, you actually become more interesting.

The key to charisma is caring.


Much of our suffering happens because we get fixated on ourselves. It’s easy to get lost in your own emotions, thoughts, desires, wants and needs that we get so self-focused.

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1045 Hits

What I’m Thinking Ahead of this Fourth of July

4thofjuly What I’m Thinking Ahead of this Fourth of July

The other morning when I sat down to meditate, my mind was bouncing all over the place and I struggled to access a place of calm.

 

One second, I was thinking about my children. The next, I was thinking about the children who have been separated from their parents at the border. I could feel myself feeling their fear and anxiety and I shuddered at the thought of what they must be going through.

 

Then, I found myself thinking about the terror inside the newsroom in Annapolis. I felt terror inside me as I thought about how unsafe everyone seems to feel these days. In fact, just the other day, I cautioned my kids not to get into a fight with someone on the road (or anywhere else for that matter). I cautioned them that everyone has so much rage and anger these days that you have to be careful in every circumstance. You just never know.

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The Natural Flow of Compassion

The Natural Flow of Compassion The Natural Flow of Compassion

Compassion is natural — moments of compassion come in the flow of life.

Do You Care?

The Practice:
Have compassion.

Why?

Compassion is essentially the wish that beings not suffer — from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to agony and anguish — combined with feelings of sympathetic concern.

 

You could have compassion for an individual (a friend in the hospital, a co-worker passed over for a promotion), groups of people (victims of crime, those displaced by a hurricane, refugee children), animals (your pet, livestock heading for the slaughterhouse), and yourself.

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2060 Hits

Living Kindness

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We learn kindness and patience step by step, sometimes in the receiving, sometimes in the giving. And sometimes, even more powerfully, in the shadow experience: through thoughtlessness or impatience, our own or someone else’s. Hurt by hurt, mistake by mistake, we walk forward into the swirl of human emotion and interrelationship. We learn about pain by being hurt as well as by hurting another. Someone else’s anger or offhand remark can cut to the quick. But to see pain in a loved one’s eyes from our own unthinking or harsh words is to know the other side of pain. It can break your heart, but in the breaking is the opening­—to compassion, to kindness.

When I look back honestly on my own life, I see moments that have taught me, painfully, to be more compassionate and aware. In the years before my mother’s death, she began to have challenges with both her eyesight (cataracts) and memory. I felt tremendous responsibility and fear around making sure she was okay. Once, after a doctor’s appointment, I was asking her questions about what had transpired (What did he say? Did you ask him about ____?). She couldn’t think fast enough to answer me and finally burst into tears. Abruptly I realized I had to slow down and just listen patiently instead of question her. I could see the pain in her eyes at not being able to answer me quickly. It stopped me in my tracks, and I hugged her. What did the answers matter when my mother’s ease of mind was at stake?

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"We've Been Waiting for You"

"We've Been Waiting for You"
These were former President Obama’s words last week after students across the U.S. walked out of their classes to attend demonstrations protesting guns and violence in this country. The Parkland, Florida, high school shootings on February 14, where 17 students and teachers were killed, was the most recent of over 200 other school shootings in the last six years. It appears to be the “last straw” for young people who have watched the escalation of lethal violence directed at their classmates and teachers.


Emma Gonzalez, senior at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spoke fiercely and articulately at a gun control rally in Ft. Lauderdale: “The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us….Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this….It’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.” She speaks for countless others across this nation, of all ages, races, nationalities, and backgrounds. And she echoes Oprah Winfrey’s words, in a different context (sexual abuse) but also about the devaluing of human lives by those in power, “Their time is up!” We are reaching critical mass on so many fronts.


I had tears in my eyes when I listened to Oprah’s speech and Emma’s speech, and when I read Obama’s heartfelt reaction to the students taking a stand against the existence of guns and violence in their lives: “We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.” Those of us who have actively spoken out for nonviolence, peace, and the honoring of all human lives (“Black Lives Matter!”) for years see hope for the future in these angry but determined young faces. They are in great pain, but often great change comes from such pain. Pain that cuts through all the lies and gets to the heart of the matter: How do you want to live your one precious life? At war or at peace? In fear or in love?

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When the News Makes Us Miserable: Remembering a Fuller Presence and Larger Truth

When the News Makes Us Miserable: Remembering a Fuller Presence and Larger Truth

People ask me regularly about how spiritual practice can guide us in responding to the state of our society. They tell me that while the teachings of compassion are alive and helpful in other parts of their lives, they seem out of reach when they read the headlines each day. In a recent e-mail from one of our DC community Spiritual Friends groups, members asked:

  • How do we stay compassionate when it feels like so much harm is being caused to vulnerable people?
  • Isn’t acceptance a kind of complacency? Isn’t “letting go” like condoning?
  • How do we call on meditation practice when we’ve become fearful, angry and disheartened at the hatefulness and viciousness that is so evident in our society?


I’ve had many waves of anger, fear and aversion in reaction to the harm being perpetrated in our society. In my own practice, it helps to keep starting right where I am, not judging my own reactions, thinking “I shouldn’t feel this.” Rather than trying to let go of these feelings, I often reflect that “this belongs,” it’s the inner weather of the moment. Then I can feel the fear or aversion with acceptance and kindness.

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