Caught up in this whirlwind called life, we wake up to do what we ‘have to’, rather than what we ‘want to’. The strain of careers, relationships, finances, raising a family… the list is unending. We acquire much, but at what price? Is there something we have lost along the way? Compassion, perhaps? So many of us prioritize our work not just above our relationships, but even at the cost of our relationships. And when that sense of loneliness or need for companionship/friendship eventually catches up with us, we find that we have alienated ourselves. A number of us also let our achievements get to our head under the misperception that we are superior, which tends to make us treat others with lesser respect.
If you’re unable to sympathise with the less privileged or are untouched by another’s suffering or misfortunes – then you have lost your sense of compassion. Today, our first instinct is to fight – fight for our rightful place, space, food and so on. We are angry most of the time, and our tolerance levels have plummeted; patience is out the window! Lack of compassion breeds selfishness where love for your fellow beings, withers and dies. You age long before you become old, you’re unhappy, grumpy and basically end up drawing people into your misery!
Compassion is the cornerstone of humanity. It opens the heart center. It shows kindness, caring and a willingness to help others – it’s a positive emotion which adds to your life’s purpose and brings you a sense of contentment, happiness and people who return your love. It is an expression of self-realization. It makes us value life more and our realization of shared identity helps us see others as an extension of ourselves. The following are some of the top benefits of being compassionate:
- It reduces the intensity of suffering and makes you feel happiness in its greater essence.
- It broadens your perspective and identity
- It increases your sense of fulfilment and well-being
- It makes you more attractive and sociable to others
- It uplifts all around you
- It is a powerful motivating force and motivates action
- It helps you get better connected, improving your social, ecological and spiritual relationships and inspires loyalty and commitment in your regular relationships.
- Self-compassion reduces burnout and fosters important adaptive qualities, buffering the negative qualities of anxiety and panic.
- It improves your health by strengthening your immune system, normalizing blood pressure, lowering stress and depression, improving physical recovery from illness and even extending life.
- It increases the possibility for peace and reconciliation where there is conflict
- It is contagious, like the ripple effect, inspiring further acts of compassion and kindness – and contributing to making the world a better and more humane place to live in. We can create a meaningful difference in the world simply by performing one simple act of compassion after another.
Here’s how you can truly make 2020 even more splendid and positive for yourself, by increasing your Compassion Quotient, thus:
- Listen in the true sense to those could use a patient ear and see how good the person feels after chatting with you! Be someone’s shoulder to cry on.
- Reconnect or stay in touch with people who have made a difference to your life or helped you. Let them know you think of them and care.
- Before letting anger get the better of you, stop, take a deep breath, let go. Try to think from the other’s point of view- what would you have done in their place? Understanding another is vital to compassion.
- It’s ok to make mistakes – we are human and we are bound to make some! Point out the wrong, but remember, after a point, berating only makes it worse, so don’t go into a tirade.
- Let it go. Tell yourself that the fight and unrest is not worth what it will do to your health and emotions.
- Make someone’s day – do good for a stranger! Smile, greet, appreciate something or simply pay a compliment!
Positive Meditation For 2020:
Find a place where you are comfortable and will be undisturbed for 15-20 minutes. Breathe naturally and focus on your heart in the middle of the chest. Take three deep breaths. Imagine that there is a beautiful pink light in the center of the chest. Focusing on this pink light, slowly envision it become bigger… spreading onto your upper torso, head and the lower torso, till you feel completely enveloped. Feel love and compassion within you and let this feeling spread out – see others enveloped in this light. Once an inner sense of calm is felt, thank this lovely light and then slowly become aware of the place where you are seated and gently open your eyes. This exercise opens your heart to love and compassion.
So, go forth and make 2020 the year of compassion… in the words of Nhat Hanh, “Compassion is a verb.” Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year!