“The spiritual potential of humanity – perhaps the survival of humanity itself – is intimately connected with our ability to develop true compassion.”
Compassion is an essential principle in our human journey. The need for compassion remains constant amid our ever-changing concepts of what it means to be spiritual beings. Compassion’s primacy is often overlooked in our search for mystical meaning and esoteric understanding. As we grow in awareness, we come to see that compassion is crucial to every step of our development.
Compassion takes many forms and manifestations – love, patience, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, kindness, tenderness, empathy, consideration and cooperation – all of which demonstrate that the spiritual potential of humanity – perhaps the survival of humanity itself – is intimately connected with our ability to develop true compassion.
Kindness, one of the many manifestations of compassion, is a universal language understood by all. Kindness transcends all of our ideologies and beliefs and brings us the largest possible view. It opens our hearts to include everyone and everything regardless of appearances. Kindness is multi-dimensional, affecting us in the simplest and most profound ways. A sincere smile from a stranger can change our entire outlook; loving kindness toward ourselves can help us face our greatest fears.
Kindness and compassion toward ourselves — toward our own pain and confusion – leads us to recognize our innocence. As we let go of guilt and self-recrimination we are empowered to learn from our mistakes and take more responsibility in our lives. Cultivating a more loving and forgiving relationship with ourselves also empowers us to develop and share the unique gifts and talents that we have been given.
Being compassionate towards oneself is sometimes viewed as selfish or un-spiritual. To think that others deserve more – or less – than we do is another way we stay in self-denial and suffering. Compassion is a direct antidote to the pain of our lives. The simple intention of compassion is so powerful that it can often generate the energy needed to raise our consciousness beyond the pain we are experiencing. Considering the innocent child aspect of who we are helps us make a compassionate connection with ourselves.
Compassion is the bridge to true understanding. When we really consider another’s reality and experience, we make an authentic connection with them. No longer is “our” healing more important than anyone else’s. Our ego would have us believe that we can rid ourselves of guilt and unworthiness by projecting these feelings onto others. But reality shows us that the opposite is true. Whatever we extend or project is what we cultivate and receive. Through this understanding, our relationships – learning to love and accept others – become fertile ground for self-love and self- acceptance.
Partner Yoga provides many wonderful opportunities to cultivate and practice compassion. Learning to be compassionately present with what is – in ourselves and our relationships – is the pathway to transformation. As we open our hearts and consciously join together, we begin to sense and feel ourselves as ever-expanding manifestations of love.