I was on the bus people-watching yesterday. I was observing a woman who was about my age, who seemed a bit distraught and upset. On her backpack she had a variety of buttons representing different causes like HIV and women’s rights. She was wearing birks and came across like she had a soft spot for hippy-ism. (You can see why I’d be interested, given my own leanings on humanitarianism and yoga). I wondered if she felt alone in that moment.
Sometimes we struggle to be compassionate with each other; to even relate to each other. We tend simplify the lives of others, separating us from them. Is because we forget that they go through the same types of emotions, the same challenges, the same insecurities? We forget that we are so often the same. Each person is a microcosm of complexity; not easily classifiable or forgettable if you get to the roots of them. Each person has their own beauty. And every person needs compassion.
A piece of yoga literature I’ve been consumed by recently recommended entering each day with the intention of compassion for ourselves and others. Compassion that allows us to be engaged, rather than separated. Compassion that allows us to care.
“Each of us in our own way can try to spread compassion into people’s hearts. Western civilizations these days place great importance on filling the human “brain” with knowledge, but no one seems to care about filling the human “heart” with compassion. This is what the real role of religion is.” – Dalai Lama
“I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed.” – Dalai Lama