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A Compassionate Warrior

Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion,...

Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, 16th century image from Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many people in our country and around the world who are feeling the effects of recent events. The vibration of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. has reached far and wide. I have been wondering what I could do from my little corner of the world. Of course, I have been sending love and positive energy to all who are in need. As a group on Friday night, my friend led us through a beautiful meditation helping us to bring love and compassion to this situation and releasing some of our fear, anger and anxiety. She talked about the situation being a dark space and letting our light shine through the darkness. It was very healing. Saturday I cried. A lot. The more I learned about what had taken place, the more shaken I was. I believe the best thing for me to do (besides hold my children super tight) is to keep my heart open, to continue to cultivate compassion, and to continue to strengthen my body. The combination of these three elements will hopefully contribute to me becoming a compassionate warrior. My idea of a compassionate warrior is someone who actively looks for ways to bring more love into the world. It is someone who will stand up for peace and shine so brightly that the dark spaces become a little less scary. Keeping my heart open will allow love to flow easily. Cultivating compassion will allow me to connect with people and situations through kindness and tolerance. A strong, healthy body allows me to do my work at an optimal level.

We can all be our own compassionate warrior, shining our light brightly for all to see. This, of course, was the theme for my yoga class this morning. We practiced heart openers and strong warrior poses. We practiced breathing and silence and we focused on growing a feeling of compassion for all. It was truly a beautiful, sacred space. I’m not sure if everyone felt it but I certainly did. If nothing else, my healing has begun and I have renewed faith in where I am being led.

Balancing Tip–Cultivating Compassion. We are all connected to each other and rely on one another. We are social beings who feel the most joy while in community. Cultivating compassion can not only help us to see others in a different light, but it can also help us to love ourselves more deeply. This is a practice that sometimes comes easier than others. Sit and get quiet for a minute or two. Bring a soft focus to the breath. Bring to mind someone you love that may be going through a difficult situation. Spend a few minutes feeling empathy for them and wishing them well. Notice the physical sensations that arise in the body. Next, bring to mind a more neutral person (maybe the bus driver or mail carrier, someone who you don’t have strong feelings about). Try to continue to have the same empathy and physical sensations while focusing on this neutral person. Wish them well. Finally, bring your attention to someone who brings you challenge. See if you can hold compassion for this challenging person. Wish them well. This practice can get more involved, this is just a quick beginners version. This practice is simple but not easy and may take quite some time before you are truly able to feel compassion as you move your focus away from those whom you love. I can tell you that it is worth any effort you put into this practice. This practice creates freedom. It may even help you to become a compassionate warrior.

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