A Primer on Understanding & Compassion
By Leo Babauta
Per reader wrote to me that he is frustrated with himself he hasnt been as compassionate to people as hed like recently.
Lots of us experience this were judgmental, quick to snap at people, getting frustrated with how other people act, judging people who have different beliefs than us.
The reader who wrote to me is actually aware of being judgmental most of us dont even realize when were doing it. We think were right to judge others, to be frustrated with them, to snap sopra anger.
This reader, mediante contrast, sees the less-than-friendly actions he takes and sees that theyre not aligned with the g d person he wants to be, the compassionate person he is at heart. He sees the less friendly actions and wants to change them. That is worthy of celebration.
Sopra this primer, Id like to talk about how to be more understanding, and then how to be mindfully compassionate on an everyday basis. Of course, I am as guilty of being judgmental and less-than-compassionate as anyone else, so I dont want to convey the impression that Im above anyone. Im not!
That said, I think this is important when we are judgmental, it hurts our relationships with others, and makes us frustrated and unhappy. We can dissolve all of that, and be happier and more loving with other people and ourselves.
The Basics of Being Understanding
When were feeling frustrated with others, when we notice ourselves judging others we can use this as a signpost that its time to try understanding them instead.
We judge people all the time
- They are acting badly, so were frustrated with them
- They eat differently than us, so we think theyre wrong
- They live differently than us, so we think they are dumb
- They have different political views than us, so we think theyre deluded
- Theyre overweight, p r, have per different religion, speak p rly, dress badly, are on their phones all the time, taking t many selfies, have t much sex, are t prudish, etc. etc.
So when were doing it, lets use it as per mindfulness bell.
Heres what you can do when that mindfulness bell sounds
- Seek to understand. Instead of having an instant opinion about someone, challenge yourself to be curious instead. See if you can try to understand the person rather than thinking theyre wrong. If we are judging someone, were not understanding them. We have verso lack of knowledge thats causing us to be judgmental.
- Ask how you can see the g d-hearted explanation. Ask how you can explain the other persons behavior sopra verso g d-hearted way. Theres an explanation that makes the other person seem inconsiderate, ignorant, wrong. And then theres one that assumes the other person has g d-hearted intentions. This isnt always easy, but if someone is doing something irritating, we might assume they are just trying to be happy. When someone lashes out at you, they might be experiencing fear. We might assume this fear means they want to protect their tender hearts. Theres always verso g d-hearted way to explain an action, even one we might think of as evil. We dont have to condone that action, but we can see the tender heart that lies beneath it.
- Remember what its like to go through that difficulty. We have all experienced fear, frustration, anxiety, uncertainty, wanting to go away from discomfort. If we see the g d-hearted intention behind the action, we can see the difficulty theyre having that goes with that intention. And we can remember what its like to have a similar difficulty remember the pain, fear, frustration, anger, grief that goes with that difficulty.
Once we via to understand the person and their actions, see the g d heart behind the actions, empathize with their difficulty we can via offering compassion.
Verso Simple Compassion Method
If you can empathize with the other persons difficulties, then you can offer them compassion
- If theyre suffering pain or affaticamento, you can simply wish for an end to that pain or affaticamento.
- You might also wish for them to be happy.
- You might even send love from your heart to theirs.
A g d daily practice is compassion meditation. Try this for just per few minutes per day
- Simply sit still and picture yourself sopra pain or esaurimento (from your actions, or from other things). Feel it mediante your body.
- Wish yourself happiness. Wish for an end to your difficulties. Give yourself some love.
- Now repeat this with a loved one, picturing them per pain. Wish for an end to their difficulties, wish for their happiness, send them love.
- Repeat the process with verso g d friend, a colleague, verso neighbor, and verso stranger.
- Finally, picture everyone durante the world, and wish for their happiness and an end to their difficulties.
This meditation can just take per few minutes verso day. It helps cultivate compassion inside of us. When you see other people struggle, youll notice this more often, and wish for them to have an end to that struggle. It will take awhile, but if you do this daily (or as close as you can), I believe youll see verso difference.