From Leo Babauta Zen Habits blog post, A Guide to Practical Compassion, shares that:
“To practice compassionate actions, you start with yourself. A lot of people see suffering in the world and feel bad about it, but they don’t know how to take action. The best way to take action is to take action with your self. The only person you can control with any degree of success is yourself… Your self-compassion becomes a model for everybody else… Will the same method that worked for you work for everyone else? No, but it may work for some people, who can replicate it and then they can show their way to others, try each other’s methods, and create new methods to try with others. It is a kind of an open-source compassion network.”
Leo shares with us, these steps:
- Be aware of your own suffering. Be willing to face, and accept, the suffering you do on a daily basis. This includes stress, doubt, fear, anger, frustration, disappointment. Watch it happen, and be OK with the sensation. Don’t run from it.
- Ease your own suffering. Learn the cause of your suffering. The cause is the ideal you’re holding onto in your mind — how other people should act, how your life should be, how you should be better, how things will turn out, how people will think of you, etc. Let go of this ideal, and you’ll suffer less.
- See the suffering of others. Pay attention to the other people in your life, strangers you pass. Notice the signs of their pain, empathize with this pain, and understand them because you’ve experienced it too.
- Reach out to them, and connect. Ease your own suffering (that comes from seeing their suffering) by reaching out and making a connection. Smile, be open to who they are, let go of your expectations of that person, and just connect.
- Share your suffering, and your method. Share ways that you’ve suffered that the other person might relate to, and this in itself will be helpful, because then you share suffering. Then share how you solved it, and that method can then be useful to the other person, if they decide to try it (it’s their choice). Don’t be preachy, just share what worked.
- Learn from the methods of others. Just as you share with others your method of easing your suffering, there’s much to be learned from others. If others have solved a problem that’s causing you some suffering, learn how they did it. By sharing with and learning from each other, we can all get better at our methods of compassion.
I know this isn’t my “usual” post – but I was compelled to share this. I hope you find it useful.