Swami Durgananda says, that the heart center is where “the inhalation comes to rest, beneath the breastbone, four to five inches below the collarbone” and allow yourself to be in this heart center and as you breathe in an out “let this center soften and widen ”
Feel what its like to be embraced by your own heart. If it feels awkward, try again and again until you feel kindness and compassion towards yourself.
If you live in the USA, I hope you will exercise your right and ability to vote in November. Please read/hear all sides of the issues you are voting for and learn about the person you are voting for. Ask questions if you are unsure of who and what to vote for. Please make an informed decision, and know that all our choices matter. Our voice matters.
I went to my local library last week and there were two women at a table, offering to register people to vote. If a person was already registered to vote, they still engaged each person with an offering of a pamphlet, website to learn about issues and reminding people to vote. I appreciate them for their volunteering and their engaged activism.
In 2003, Thich Nhat Hahn spoke to the members of Congress and highlighted the practice of deep listening as a way to reduce anger and violence, while building compassion.
He also asked people to lobby to their elected officials, saying “We have to offer them our insight, our compassion. We cannot just afford for them to be surrounded by advisers who do not have that insight, that compassion.
You can read the interview, listen to Thich Nhat Hahn via this link. Although the interview is about 15 years old it is still so relevant. Perhaps even more relevant today.
Deep listening is difficult, when we disagree with others and their views. Its really not for the faint of heart. Yet it is exactly at that point of difference when it is most crucial.
In Dalai Lamas words,
If you want others to be happy, practice Compassion. If you want to be happy, practice Compassion
Our choices matter. Our voice matters. Our future matters. Our planet matters.
I read this beautiful Sufi teaching today:
Overcome any bitterness that may have come because you were not up to the magnitude of the pain that was entrusted to you.
Like the mother of the world who carries the pain of the world in her heart,
Each one of us is part of her heart, and therefore endowed with a certain measure of suffering.
With acceptance we can hold ourselves and our suffering, with tenderness and compassion. We can hold this suffering that has been entrusted to us and allow compassion to grow. We can extend that compassion to every being and to our mother of the world.
Diwali, also known as festival of lights is a 5 day celebration. It marks the arrival of God Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu) after 14 years of exile. During his exile he defeats Ravanna and signifies good winning over evil; Wisdom winning over ignorance. In Sanskrit, Diwali also means row of lit lamps. Although the festival is marked by different celebrations based on regional and religious beliefs wishes for joy, prosperity, light, love and success are the same.
On Diwali and in the year ahead I wish you all wholesome happiness, love, compassion, hope, unshakable faith, and an inner nurturer who helps you shine in joy and spread your wisdom.
Compassion itself is seen to be
The seed of a rich harvest, water for growth
And the ripened state of long enjoyment.
Therefore, at the start I praise compassion.
As the year ends and a new one begins allowing compassion to grace our mind and heart is a rekindling.
A lot of times it is easier to generate compassion towards those we don’t know, or towards friends. Extending compassion towards those who have seemingly harmed us is harder to do. Situations that brought us pain and heartbreak are harder to hold as cherished moments.
Cherishing moments that brought joy equally to those moments that brought heart break have something in common. They allow us to generate compassion for those who would like to experience joy and for those who have experienced heartbreak.
Compassion from the beginning to the end can bring peace and comfort through the ups and downs of life and continue to rekindle us to move forward.