Compassion is consciousness manifested. ~Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Ammachi)
There is no such thing as an ordinary life. Every moment is packed with tantalizing holographic realities beyond our imagination and, sometimes, if we slow down and go inward enough to listen, we feel into the extraordinary experience of ordinary. This very moment is bliss, yet this realization is rarely identified as truth and, if it is, it often presents itself in the form of intellectual or symbolic concepts – far from embodiment and seemingly intangible. It is our unique and difficult task as human beings to make this Reality visible on the earth.
This is especially true when we are presented with experiences that push us to a razor-sharp edge and challenge our equilibrium. Everything we thought we processed and “worked through years ago” comes raring its lovely head for another round of healing. In such devastation, we find ourselves in panic, despair, or questioning the value of our efforts and, perhaps, the very meaning of life.
Most of what I see in sessions is the pain arising from a profound sense of disconnection, alienation, and separation. This is emphasized by a collective system where individualism, dominance and competition are privileged, deepening the grooves of dualism, negativity, and oppression. We have so much opportunity for cultivating positive qualities like compassion, love, and collaboration, yet we are often unaware of it. Changes, however, are beginning to rumble underneath the surface.
At the collective level, we see change happening through events in Egypt and here in the States in Wisconsin. Made of many individual psyches, our collective consciousness wants more freedom from the tyranny of abuse and oppression… and so does the earth. The increase in conflicts and natural disasters, including the recent tsunami and subsequent earthquakes in Japan, is a reflection of our destructive tendencies being unearthed and, perhaps, opportunities for us to move toward compassion and collaboration. To make conscious connections between our individual and collective healing process is to create a clear path toward global transformation.
For women and girls and those who are marginalized, this is particularly important in our healing journeys. If we continue to internalize the dominant paradigm that packages and sells the very thoughts that lead to our low self-worth, perfectionism, and self-destruction, we will also continue to victimize ourselves. “They” no longer need the dominant paradigm to oppress us because we have become and perpetuate it just fine without them.
This is why awakening to our true nature as compassion is such a revolutionary act and why we must take steps to realize this nature now.
With compassion comes equanimity and peace of mind because we are able to bring our attention to internal and external experiences with a sense of humility. We are not trying to put on our superhero garb and change the situation. We are cultivating the capacity to experience every situation as it is – with compassion, kindness, and acceptance – even in the midst of war and/or natural disaster. I am not pretending that this is easy or minimizing the intensity of these experiences. I have been held at gunpoint and had to use my very little meditation/mindfulness experience at the time to breathe through the situation, come out alive, and not live in fear for the rest of my days.
The more we train our minds when life is a bit gentler, the easier it is to cultivate compassion and peace when we are facing life’s more difficult experiences, including death.
As the wise quote says, compassion is consciousness manifested.
May we all find our outrageous revolutionary spirit of compassion for ourselves, each other, and the earth. May this compassion ripple throughout all the worlds.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.