Tag Archives: compassionate response

The Coffers That Are Never Empty

I write about Tonglen practice quite frequently. It is so illustrative of the beauty of the act of giving, opening ourselves to the chaos of the world and responding with the gift of compassion, whatever form that may mean.

The compassionate response is open to all the possibilities of the existing moment, no matter how long that may last. Compassion responds to need and is quite concrete in its content as well as its delivery.

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We are told to give until it hurts, as if a stopping point is required. Yet, compassion is an easing of pain.

There are those who give little of the much

which they have – and they give it for

recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all.

These are the believers in life and the bounty of life,

and their coffer is never empty.

The Prophet

The compassionate response arises out of the belief in abundance, “the bounty of life,” no matter what is being asked. It is only in lack that we hold back. And when we lack in belief, we lack in heart.

If we mine ourselves, we find our vein of riches runs deeper than we first thought.

Thanks to Caroline Johnson for this lovely reminder from Khalil Gibran.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 

The Will of the Gardener

What else might this mean?

The question offers the option of stepping back from a tense moment— when emotions are running high— of pulling back from our initial reaction to consider the situation in a broader scope.

It is a moment of growth.

I do my best to remember this practice but it is so easy to react rather than to respond. Yet, when I do step back, I see how I am making myself suffer.

Life is not free of pain but it can be free of suffering.

Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.  

Othello, Act 1, Scene 3

Asking what else a situation might mean allows me to tend my garden thoughtfully. It gives me a moment of peace. I release my out-breath but pause before taking the next.mindset-091316

I’m not relinquishing my beliefs–those that thrive in my garden–I stand in it as is, examining where there is growth and where there is none.

I open myself to the unimaginable, which is not always positive or easy.  The intrigue is in considering all that might grow here, as old beliefs wither while young shoots find their way to fertile ground.

Sometimes, silence–simply surveying how my garden grows–is all I have to offer.

The compassionate response is not giving up my garden or tending it less. It is nurturing the ego-less emotions of gratitude, kindness, equanimity, and joy. These are forever beautiful and loving perennials.

I do my best to remember that I am a gardener, a strong-willed one at that. Tending my garden is not about having the answer; it is about asking the question.

What else might this mean?

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 

The Pause: the Routine of All Routines

When I began the #DailyDose, I knew there would be days of pause. I decided that a year of posts–365–would be my first benchmark, no matter how many days that might take.

Hurricane Hermine was only my first pause. There are more to come, each unique in its own period of time, ever tweaking my perspective. To aim for even is a constant re-balancing act.

I may begin my day with meditation and yoga but there is one routine that supersedes all others. I call it the power of pause, that moment between the in breath and the out breath, releasing one for yet another.

The power of pause is a reach into the unknown, the quiet courage of the heart resonating throughout the body as the head constantly wonders.wondering-warrior-0313

It is that crisp, that charged this voyage in to all we are, a trusted leap from the comfort of the breath we have to the unknown, the breath yet experienced.

In-between breaths, we glimpse the spark of us. The power of pause brings forth the ego-less emotions of compassion, equanimity, loving-kindness, and joy— the very best in us.

The power of pause is available to us in every breath, our access to the compassionate response no matter the moment. It reminds that to pause is sometimes better than to run head-on into the fray.

Of course, the wave of impermanence in its inimitable and innumerable forms also helps us to pause.

It interrupts the life pace, sometimes rather abruptly. There is something we need to learn. It behooves us to be mindful. When the regular pace of life returns—be it external or internal energy— we find the familiar, a bit changed but recognizable nonetheless.

Emily Dickinson said that “To live is so startling it leaves but little room for other occupations. “

Perhaps the power of pause gives us a bit more wiggle room.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.