Compassion comes when we’re feeling kindness and gratitude in our hearts towards others, which can oftentimes be a difficult thing to do. As human beings, we find ourselves feeling judgmental against wrong doing, which is fueled by a sense of righteousness (ego). When we judge against others, we’re putting ourselves in the right, while putting someone else in the wrong. It’s easy to do, as we’re constantly surrounded by what has become socially acceptable behavior – no longer are our views our own, as subjective influences are everywhere, causing us to be a bit lazy in forming our own opinions. Thus, judging becomes a much easier task, when faced with a decision on how to treat someone. So how do we fill ourselves with compassion in the face of so much negativity?
Undoubtedly you have been judged unfairly in your life for something you may or may not have done. It’s the worst feeling in the world when a finger is pointed at you, and you feel helpless to defend yourself. As the saying goes, “Walk a mile in their shoes.” It’s super easy to tell someone how to do something, how to feel, how to live their life, etc., based on your own unique experiences that may or may not relate to the situation at hand. It’s also super easy to deliver that message with too much emotion. So how do you remove the judgmental/emotional behavior, so that compassion is uncovered?
Deepak suggested a set of exercises that can definitely put you down the right path, and I can say that they truly work:
- Imagine yourself being that person’s parent or sibling. They’ve come to you with an issue, or perhaps they have done something to offend you, or perhaps you don’t even know them but you’ve heard about what they’ve said or done. How would you handle it? Would you immediately scold them, or would you find the compassion to help them?
- If the answer is help, then the next step is forgiveness. This is, by far, the hardest thing to do, as most of us are just ego-prone enough to feel like we’ve “lost” when we do. But what most fail to remember is that forgiveness is the most powerful thing you can give someone else, next to love. When you forgive, awareness becomes more inclusive, and compassion takes over – it purifies the soul.
- When you’re able to achieve these two, you will notice that you stop judging others, which means you stop judging yourself. Believe it or not, most of what we project onto others is secretly things we, ourselves, need to work on. And, when you get to a place where you’re judgment-free, you are then in a state of grace.
Having compassion takes work. And oftentimes, these steps are hard to get through. I always tell people to volunteer at the charity of their choice, even if just for a few hours. The amount of compassion you can feel for another, when helping someone less fortunate, is tremendous, and it definitely gives you a running head’s start in the right direction.