I had an exciting Zoom call with over 350 Asha team members and volunteers a couple of days back. Everyone was enthused and energized to continue working with even greater zeal and passion.
I spoke about Compassion. The Latin meaning being ‘to suffer with.’ Its about recognizing of another person’s suffering and being sensitive to it; a sharing of the heart, followed by a deep desire to alleviate the suffering.
I distinguished between Compassion and Pity, explaining that Pity is a fleeting emotion that does not fully recognize the pain of others. It also has an element of superiority.
I then spoke about the wonderful benefits and effects of exercising compassion. It uproots the wish to harm others. The compassionate mind is purified of the taint of ill will.
Compassion brings the mind to a state of peace. It brings about justice, harmony, and mental freedom. It makes us move from a desire of self promotion and self achievement, towards a desire to feel the pain of others.
The exercise of compassion gives us bliss and pleasure. It relaxes us, and helps us regulate our emotions through reduced activity of the amygdala( a part of the lower brain). It’s a great stress reliever, because it lowers our inflammation levels and strengthens our immune system through increasing the levels of the hormones dopamine and oxytocin.
We then spoke about ways to cultivate compassion. To begin every morning with a Gratitude and Compassion Meditation. Next comes the practice of Self Compassion, eliminating guilt and negative self talk. Then reach out to those who are suffering and try to imagine how you might feel if you were in their place. I spoke about practicing compassion with people of all castes, colour, age, and gender, in order to bring in justice, dignity, and harmony, and break down barriers.
I spoke about the importance of being non judgmental while practicing compassion. And also about listening well, giving full attention and making eye contact.
Finally I said we should reflect on our acts of compassion at the end of each day. It must be practiced daily and become a firm habit.
The habitual practice of compassion brings True and Lasting Happiness.
Here are some beautiful pictures they sent me the next day.