“Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things”.
- On a break in your work day, imagine a person who you love. Use whatever senses are available in your inner world: if you’re a visual person, picture them in detail. Or you could imagine hugging them, or smelling their shampoo, or the way you feel when they look at you. Use as many of your imagination-senses as you can. Notice how this makes you feel.
- Try doing the same exercise, using all the senses of your imagination; but use it to enter into your favourite text. Use a sacred text or a piece of fiction, or any story where you can imagine yourself as part of the action. Then get in there! Observe what you can. You can even try interacting with others in the scene and see what happens. Let yourself be surprised.
- Imagine your favourite place, where you feel most comfortable and at home. Or invent an ideal peaceful place. Again, use all senses available to you in your inner world. At the end, take a mental snapshot and file it away for future reference.
“The full and joyful acceptance of the worst in oneself may be the only sure way of transforming it.”
— Henry Miller
Most of us are far more practiced at sending acceptance and compassion outward than inward. We all have awkward and ugly aspects of ourselves that we’d rather ignore, or better, erase.
Carl Rogers, a great psychotherapist, knew keenly how much people desire acceptance. He observed that offering radical acceptance of the person had the power to spark significant change in their lives. He based his method around that insight, and cultivated an attitude of what he called “unconditional positive regard” for his patients. Continue reading