Friday, August 12, 2016

Common Humanity

Compassion can be a response to others who are suffering or are in pain, and to have a desire to help.  It also begins to open my eyes to the fact that everyone is dealing with challenges, no matter how "perfect" their Facebook page looks, or their clothes or their house, there is a challenge in their life.  There is something that drives them to keep going despite those heartbreaking circumstances.  It is recognizing that we are all here to love and support each other.   There is no room for comparison, for duality, there is simply the fact that we are all human, and each one of us is walking our own path.  

However I recently started wondering if compassion could also look like wanting to celebrate someone's joy despite your challenges.  Far to often I minimize myself, my accomplishments, and brush off compliments.  I believe people are only being "nice" or "polite" or following the social norm.  I question the sincerity of compliments, I never question the sincerity of insults.  However maybe when things are going "well" in your life and people want to be around you, they want to celebrate your joy, because they see that joy in themselves as well.  It might be hard for them to feel, or even acknowledge, because the mind is caught up in the drama of their life and their current battle.  The heart wants it all, it wants to acknowledge and accept each experience, the good, the bad, the messy, the tidy.   

Sometimes I hear people say phrases that have become noise, phrases that have started to lose meaning despite the intention behind them, because the mind is creating that divide.  The mind is telling me that, they couldn't understand, that I am alone in my pain.  Maybe they just don't know what else to say, and they want to find some way to show support, to let you know that they have felt alone and abdandoned too.   In fact in that moment they might be telling you, they feel powerless to help and all they want is to let you know that things change.  

I want to know when things will change, I want that control and that knowledge.  At the same time if I knew all the answers what would I miss, who would I miss out on meeting, what experiences would I avoid?  I have learned more about myself in the last year, then I probably ever really wanted to.  I have gotten to tune into a body that was not safe, and learn to find what "safe" can look like.  I have learned that even though I have experienced the pain passing, and that there is always something I can do, I still feel powerless.  I still feel helpless and I need people in my life to remind me to breathe, to hold my hand, or to understand when it is time to leave.  

I am not sure how compassion works if one fails to recognize the humanity in each person we come in contact with.   To accept who they are, not condone their actions, but to see that they are doing the best they can, and I have been that demon or angel too.  To realize "I am that person, that identity at times."   To realize these are all expressions of humanity and to approach others with kindness and compassion, because if I am able to recognize the common ground, maybe I will be able to see what the situation needs and the mind won't create the divide.  Even when I fall down, I am okay; even when I am falling down while trying to pick myself up, I am okay, even when I am walking upright I am okay. 

I think the trap is the impression: that it is easy to be kind, to be compassionate to yourself or to others.  It is a discipline and like all disciplines, it takes time to learn, it takes patience to become competent and the tests never stop.  That is the journey, to become stronger, to learn and to quote my good friend Patrick "make all NEW mistakes."

Question of the day: Look at an event in your life, that seems to be on a loop, good or bad.  Ask yourself what was your state like during that event, were you well rested, fed, hydrated or other needs met?  Then see if you change one of those foundations, for example give yourself some sleep or take it away and see if how the event played out might have changed.   Play!   

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