Courageous Compassion

Amy Bell Yoga Teacher Courageous Compassion Blog

“We can’t heal the world today, but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an act of kindness.”

Mary Davis

This post is a reminder to keep showing up in the world courageously with love, kindness and consideration for others (and for yourself). Tragic things happen, and we never know the trauma that others carry. When you pass or interact with someone, try catching yourself before judging them, its easy to dismiss someone as rude or moody when in fact, they could be shouldering grief or some other pain, physical, mental or emotional. A genuine smile, kind gesture or generous act towards someone lacking sunshine in their spirit goes a long way.

Or maybe you are the one with a broken heart or going through some hardship; if that’s the case, perhaps you need to cultivate some more loving-kindness towards yourself. Notice your inner critic, and instead of feeding yourself with harming thoughts/words, actively create a more positive, supportive internal dialogue. Also, know that you are not alone, you are part of the human collective, and one of those collective experiences is suffering, which takes many forms.

“Every experience evokes a rasa – a juice, essence or taste… All humans have a full range of emotions, and all emotions are pure energy, the power of Shakti. The gift is in the energy and how we connect more deeply to our humanity through emotional intimacy.” 

Sianna Sherman

The 9 Rasa’s – Love, Joy, Compassion, Courage, Anger, Fear, Disgust, Wonder and Peace.

“Rasa does not refer to the everyday, worldly emotions of love, sorrow, humor etc., but to their transformation into aesthetic sentiment. The transformation of worldly emotion into aesthetic sentiment occurs when we become keenly aware of the worldly emotions in our own hearts… This act of awareness and synchronous transformation is rasa.” Somadeva Vasudeva.

“Aesthetic” relating to the enjoyment or study of beauty.
“Sentiment” refined feeling, an idea coloured by emotion.

Part of the work is to not ignore or suppress the unpleasant stuff but instead, to rise with courage, face it, and embrace it all as best we can. Whether that is being courageously compassionate towards ourselves or being courageously compassionate towards others. It’s in the heart of that fire where the alchemical transformation happens.

“Courage” the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.  Strength in the face of pain or grief.

Group of young sporty people practicing yoga, making namaste gesture, closing eyes, hands together at the heart chakra, meditation, working out, indoor close up, studio. Wellness and wellbeing concept

Whether you are rising up with a bursting heart of compassion for another in need and sending ripple effects of love, hope and joy to others, or rising up with courage to face the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a break-up or other painful situation then here are two practises to help.

Preparation

  • Sit in a comfortable seat, close the eyes.
  • Place both hands over your heart, connecting to your loving heart energy.
  • Visualise a glow, light, fire shining brightly in your chest.
  • Breath deeply and start to feel the love within your heart radiating, filling up your whole being and beaming out of you.

1st Practise: Meta-Meditation

This is a type of Buddhist meditation. In Pali (a language that is closely related to Sanskrit and spoken in northern India), “metta” means positive energy and kindness toward others. The practice is also known as loving-kindness meditation.

Silently repeat:

May I Be Happy

May I Be Healthy

May I Be Safe

May I Be Free From Suffering

Should you wish to use other phrases that speak to your heart and situation, please do so.

Visualise yourself receiving these blessing; see yourself happy, healthy, safe, and at ease in mind and body.

As you say these phrases, work with a sense of embodying them. Feel connected to their meaning, as opposed to just reciting the words.

 

After 5 mins, bring someone to mind who is in need of well wishes, someone who is suffering in some way. You could also visualise more than one person.

Silently repeat:

May You Be Happy

May You Be Healthy

May You Be Safe

May You Be Free From Suffering

When you recite these positive aspirations, see this person/s receiving this loving kindness from your heart, these heartfelt good wishes. Visualise them happy, healthy, safe and at ease in mind and body. Feel your joy and their joy merging.  Continue with this for another 5 mins.

Next choose someone who you struggle to feel loving kindness towards, use the above practice with them in mind, helping you work through your judgements and barriers.  This may feel harder to do, but don’t worry, whatever shows up is all part of the courageously compassionate process.

 

After 5 mins let the phrases go and sit for a few minutes noticing how you are feeling.  

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

2nd Practise: Mantra Chanting

Follow the above preparation.

Silently, or out loud, chant the following mantra:

“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”

Meaning: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may my words, thoughts and actions contribute in some way to the freedom and happiness of all beings.

As you chant this mantra visualise your loving heart energy increasing and expanding in all directions, reaching all beings (human & animal) and all of nature.  Visualise these words and this intention nourishing and healing all of Mother Earth.  Keep chanting for as long as feels good.

After either practice, carry on about your day/evening with this feeling of courageous, compassionate radiance, not just limited to yourself but expanding to the world around you.  

“May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.”
John O’Donohue

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