A student recently asked me how could he be compassionate with the people at work when they have a different state of awareness.
It is a good question that starts with the intertwined concept of self. There is a duality in our existence. The physical and the metaphysical. The “you” and the “them”. In one sense, the physical, we are all separate beings. Yet in another, the metaphysical, we are all connected in varying degrees. Sometimes we all feel a connection to those around us, and to the universe in general. At other times we feel alone, as if we are the only person in existence. That feeling of connection does not come from the outside world. It comes from within.
When we are in love, we radiate energy. It is as if the entire universe has opened up to us. When in reality, it is us who have opened up to the universe. When a relationship dies, we instinctively close up and shut ourselves off from the universe around us. We feel hurt and pain, loneliness and despair. This is not caused by “them”, it is created by “you”.
In the same way, compassion is not about “them”, it is about “you”. Remember, you have no control over what goes on in the outside world. You will witness events and come in contact with energy that you can do nothing about. You can only manage how you respond to them. You can only manage the relationship that you have with the world around you.
You do this by choosing how you respond to live’s events. If you respond with loving kindness, it does not matter what state of mind anyone else is in. It only matters what state of mind you are in. If you respond in a compassionate way, with love and understanding, and with an open mind, then you are creating ripples that will extend far beyond your physical space. The compassion you send out, by responding to others with love, kindness and understanding, will extend out to others.
Some may respond out of habit, and laugh or think your actions are weak. Let them. They do it because they are uncomfortable. Becuase a part of them understands but they are too afraid of the energy. Don’t let that stop you. Embrace it.
In the end, you and only you, create the world you live in. The world you see reflects your perspective. You can either live in a world filled with hope, love and wonder. Or you can buy into the fear and anger of others and live in a world created by those emotions.
You will see the world reflect your own actions. So by practicing compassionate mindfulness, no matter what state of mind others are in, you can create a world from the same fundamental elements. It takes time to change the world and those around you. But we’re here for a while, so why not start now?