#54 Train wholeheartedly.
Pema: Train enthusiastically in strengthening your natural capacity for compassion and loving-kindness.
My husband and I were away for several days. I decided that I would forgo my practice of the compassion cards knowing that the four days would be busy and it might not be feasible to write about each day.
This was a lesson in compassion and loving-kindness because the ego implied that I was not doing my duty to practice consistently even while away. Granted, I did meditate while we were away so loving-kindness was one of the mindfulness practices I used during my meditation sessions.
Loving-kindness and compassion has been a vital lifeline for me especially since I was first diagnosed in 2015 with fibromyalgia (and everything else that goes with it). When I worked with my mentor at the time, it was the practice that saved me from assaulting myself again and again over the span of my life. I was kind, generous, and compassionate to others, but I left myself out of the picture. “I deserve to suffer,” so I erroneously thought. A lifetime of trauma, tragedy and PTSD had kept me in locked in box as I sheltered myself in blame and shame. I knew from my years of spiritual study intellectually what was occurring, what was missing was the down-to-earth practical application.
Loving-Kindness was the light that shone brightly early on in my diagnosis. I was grateful to being the transformation of seeing myself in a new “light.” To offer love to myself was a little foreign. I “knew” it was the appropriate measure, heck, I taught it for years! But embracing myself with the care and compassion that was needed in the pain, was not done to the point where I could feel it deeply within my being.
This is what we do to ourselves. But there is a way out of the darkness. The more we experience loving-kindness and compassion practices; the more we feel this within our heart and mind. I encourage you to do so as I know the opening it has given me to see myself through mindful loving awareness and no judgment. Loving what is, here and now.
Pema Chödrön’s Compassion Cards – This practice is lojong (mind-training slogans) and they are powerful reminders on how to awaken our hearts. They are also found in “The Compassion Book.” You choose the cards at random, read the commentary, and then try to live by the meaning of the slogan throughout the day.