Through The Heart of Compassion

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

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As most of us are inundated with an increasingly individualistic and materialistic culture, the concept of compassion seems like a catchy theoretical term. However, the actual practice and application of embodying true compassion is a rare phenomena; one that comes as a result of the lessons learned through ones own suffering and of becoming more conscious of ourselves and the world at large. A very famous Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, focuses on love, forgiveness, and embodying true compassion.

“The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.”” Thich Nhat Hanh

Through most spiritual traditions, the concept and practice of compassion is highly regarded as one of the most important aspect on the search for Truth. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has spent his lifetime teaching and practicing this very same spiritual tradition, of embodying compassion. Even though Tibetan Buddhism may look very different from the theoretical and practical applications of other spiritual paths; in essence, compassion is the central theme of all spirituality.

“We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion….This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.” Dalai Lama X1V

To truly reach out with empathy and unconditional love towards another, is a very rare phenomena, yet even if we can find that place within ourselves momentarily and share this deep sense of selflessness, the world will eventually start to evolve. Even more precious is to have the opportunity to spend time with a true Mahatma or spiritual Master, who embodies the essence of true humility, selflessness, compassion, and infinite grace for everyone who comes for their darshan. My spiritual teacher or Guru is one of these very rare exceptions in this world. Sri MataAmritananda Mayi Devi, known as Amma has been embodying such teachings for over 30 years, through sharing Her emanation with people from all over the world. Through being in her presence I have been able to witness what true compassion really is.

“Sadhana shouldn’t be done for one’s own liberation, but for the sake of becoming loving, compassionate, and understanding enough to remove the suffering of the world. We have to become so large-hearted that we experience the suffering of others as our own, and work to alleviate their suffering.” Amma

Thus, when creator and creation are one and the same, you will find Mahatmas like Amma spending every moment of Her physical presence uplifting the suffering of humanity in some way or another. Her organization, Embracing The World has been recognized by the U.N and WHO, as the biggest humanitarian organization in the world. She was also invited to be a member of South East Asia at the U.N conference in China in the fall of 2012. Hence, Amma is a true humanitarian, offering the pure essence of compassion to everyone, no matter who they may be. Its a deeply profound teaching to assimilate and attempt to practice. Hence, through the teaching of selflessness and attempting to be more kind and compassionate there are moments of embodying this teaching. However, there are far more experiences of being the exact opposite of compassionate; caught in judgement, criticism, and separation.

It shows me the true essence of compassion and how precious and rare the embodiment of this energy really is. It also reveals the delicate balance of allowing the fruits of our spiritual practice or positive actions to flow out of us, as grace to be more compassionate and kind towards all other beings. In such acts, I honestly feel that such true compassion, even if just experienced for a small moment, is the grace of the divine, rather than from our own sense of ego. In essence, all of our acts are mostly steeped in selfishness, due to our association with our egoic mind. However, we can always keep striving to be kinder, more compassionate, and more selfless to others. It has been my experience, that even when we are unkind, fight with others or get drawn into disagreements, and act in selfish ways; we can always learn from such mistakes and redirect our thoughts, words, and actions to show more kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. 

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The Disillusioned

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” Rumi

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The romantic notion of transformation is so prevalent in the current homogenous cultural context, as a joyous and exuberantly positive mystical experience. However, the reality and truth of this process resembles the opposite, appearing more reminiscent of some type of suffering; painfully letting go of our outdated notions of who we have been and a feeling of extreme disillusionment and dispassion with the nature of our surrounding reality.

Historically, throughout the world, within  indigenous cultures there have been numerous rituals of passage into various spheres of life. These rites of passage had many functions, yet the main purpose was to shed the previous ‘self’, which is necessary to embody a deeper sense of empowerment and shift positionally within the cultural framework appropriate to the individual. Since, we no longer have such rituals or acknowledgment of personal transformation into a more wise, empowered, and mature version of ourselves, we are on our own in terms of going through the liminality of transformation.

It has been my personal experience of going through a liminal period of deep and painful transformation that the process began when I came to the end of a cycle that I had been going for a long time of  continuous education and working at a job that did not utilize my skills or creativity. All of the education was necessary, yet I was not on the path that I needed to be on in life. Therefore, as transformation occurs numerous things radically changed in my life without me having to do anything. Everything that did not support my growth suddenly fell away, creating a large space for me to begin the work that I am now doing. However, through the duration of this process, I felt severely disillusioned, to such a degree that the only word that comes to my mind is severe ‘dispassion’. 

Throughout my life I have been an optimist, so when I say that I have reached this point of perception, there is a massive transitional movement occurring within my inner world. I am painfully letting go of the person I used to be, with all the ideals, dreams, fear, uncertainty, sensitivity, and vulnerabilities that were so wide open and unprotected.

I realize I am much stronger than I can even fathom, even though I  have felt this energy throughout my life, now I know it’s there for me to use whenever I need it. I am coming into my sense of deeper self empowerment and self understanding of who I am at a much deeper level; than the person I used to be who lived mostly on the outside of my ‘being’, rather than deep inside.

One of the main characteristics of undergoing deep transformation, is an extreme difficulty that acts as a catalyst. Its when your entire life starts falling apart, everything starts to change, things and people are pulled away. Through such a disconcerting experience, our inner feeling of ‘self’ begins to dramatically changed. In my experience, even thought this process can be very disorienting to our sense of security with who we have associated ourselves to be, thus often leaving us feeling less than we used to be in some ways. However, the end result most often leaves us feeling so much deeper, wiser, and richer in so many other ways. I personally feel much stronger to be who I am fully and completely. 

For me, this transformation was necessary for me to fully embody who I really am in this life, to allow myself to emanate as myself, and to feel fully self empowered in my unique and reflexive approach to life. I feel committed to this journey where I can fully embrace who I am, I can fully live my life to the greatest potential that I have wanted to pursue for the entirety of my life. I am allowed to be me, the person that I am right now, without any compromise, without any excuses, without any explanation. 

To feel this extreme emancipation of freedom to be the person you really are and live it with ease and joy, there is no greater power, expansiveness, or liberation that I have thus far felt in my life, that can even come close. Its a very small form of awakening, to be who you are in this one moment, to be free to exist as this very person with all the glaring beauty of life. To have the grace to be free enough to contribute to the world in the way that I wish to contribute, is also a great gift.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2013