Compassion Practice

We are all in the midst of living the truth of the third mind changing, which is thinking about how our behavior and reactions shape the life we experience. This teaching suggests there are causal effects from our virtuous and harmful actions, which inevitably ripen into our future reality. In these Tibetan Buddhist teachings on the Four Mind Changings, this is called karmic consequences, the inescapable nature of cause and effect, of skillful or unskillful actions and their positive or negative results. Although so much arises that we can not predict nor fully understand, this insight into personal causality, painful as it is when meeting negative incidents, can be a compelling motivator toward what the Buddha called “intentional living” versus “wandering about in unawareness”. In the spirit of genuine self-care, we can recognize the deep wish to avoid causing more suffering in the future by pausing to contemplate how we might diminish its causes. This self-reflection to align with our awake nature, even for a few breaths, is an important portal into personal power.
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If you can, take 5 minutes for a compassion practice. Imagine the essence of your natural goodness as an orb of white light at your heart. With each in breath envision bringing into this light all the dark clouds of any destructive patterns of body, speech or mind that you have experienced lately, while saying to yourself, ‘may I be free of any unskillful or unconscious behavior, especially towards those I am closest to. May I be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.’ Like black cotton thrown into a bon fire, envision these obscurations dissolving into the light at your heart. Imagine this light within you spreading to every inch of your body, while all the clouds of unawareness evaporate. See your self-awareness growing brilliant and clear, filling you from head to toe. Visualize your natural radiance here and now, sending it out to anyone you feel is suffering this moment, with the wish for them, ‘May you be free of any anguish. May you know your inner light of awareness.’

Aspire to spread the brightness of your being towards any painful feelings that may arise today in you or others you meet, that you might be a soft support for yourself, your loved ones, and everyone you encounter today.