Compassion Practice | Awakening to the Heart

Compassion Practice

Compassion Practice
~ Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw ~

The Practice of Compassion is rooted in the heart, at the very core of our being. It is the essence and ultimate expression of my own spiritual practice, and that of Buddhism, Christianity and other World Religions. Practicing compassion opens the heart and awakens us. In the practice of compassion, we discover our innate resilience that helps us cope with life challenges and personal suffering, and strength to hold empathy for others. Simultaneously, it offers us a way to deepen heart-felt feelings of love, joy, and connection with all sentient and non-sentient beings and the world we live in, and finding deeper meaning in our daily life.

So what does this practice look and feel like? How can one move concepts out of the mind into the true experience? I adore the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. He has helped me simplify and develop my practice of compassion, such as mindfully drinking a cup of tea when feeling stressed, or moving my computer out of my lap to make the space for one of my cats, Ani or Bodhi, so that we can taste the sweetness of silent and healing connection with one another. This is a simple practice of compassion—being mindful, intentional and opening one’s heart to the beautiful experience of living each moment.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves—slowly, evenly, 
without rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
             Only this moment is life.
                
                                                                                ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

With every mindful, benevolent and intentional moment we can develop a strong compassion practice. It is not about seeking perfection, but it is in living a conscious and meaningful life. We forget, we loose track, we get lost and bounced around with the stress of reacting to external events or internal musings. Then we remind ourselves “Oh yes, I remember what I truly want—let me return to my true home and where I want to live”. The practice of compassion develops and deepens as we remind ourselves before we get too far adrift. We begin to recognize it feels so much better to live in the present moment with all of the ups and downs of life, than it is to get lost in the mire of anger, blame, shame, isolation, or even the over indulgence of pleasure as an avoidance to facing something “uncomfortable”. 

With a focused compassion practice, we will get off our path less frequently,  and when we inevitably do, we find it much easier to find our way back— embracing the journey that is our true nature…

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© Awakening to the Heart -  2018