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Friday, February 25, 2011

Meditation = Compassion

Little Buddha in Meditation
Just lately it's been hitting me...the connection between making space during meditation and what compassion really is. I like the word "bodhichitta", which essentially means compassion in Sanskrit. The Buddhists use it to mean something deeper and richer than our English word compassion. You can just dip into the Dalai Lama's books or those of Thich Nhat Hahn to get a taste of what bodhichitta means.

But to me, bodhichitta is an essential part of meditation. You can start by wishing that all beings have happiness and be free from suffering. Then you can sit and do whatever type of meditation you're familiar with. During your meditation at a certain point your thinking mind might get a little tired of running the show and it might relax for a moment. You might experience a spaciousness, or just a little relaxation. It always feels different for me. (Not that the thoughts go away—far from it. They just stop being the main focus.) There's also a feeling of expansion during this letting go. And hand-in-hand with that expansion comes a feeling of love that isn't separate from the relaxing. It's really as if our true nature, beneath the thoughts but not separate from them, is love and compassion!

Compassion isn't the thought "I must be nice, I must be good."
It's also a feeling arising from who we really are—the essence of which is loving.

And when you finish you can wish that the meditation you did benefit others.

And you can remember the spaciousness, little taste of freedom, and love and compassion you felt during your sitting throughout the day. Nothing can take it from you.



Crazy Eddie said...

Laura, that was an excellent post. I liked it very much. Personally, I think humnanity as a whole is moving into a more compassionate age. Compassion is hugely important in my opinion. How meditation helps is that it helps to open up the heart chakra and that is the seat of compassion. Namaste.


Anonymous said...

Your post is uncanny, I have just been reading the compassion section in the Sogyal Rinpoche book you sent me (as I said, I've been reading it verrrry slowly - quite unlike my usual habit of zooming through a book). Also, I found someone who teaches meditation classes - but not until after season! I often say that patience is not my virtue, but I may acquire it whether I want to or not. I just love reading your posts, thank you, love Jenna

Laura said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Crazy Eddie. I like what you said a lot.

Anonymous, I'm glad you're reading it slowly. It's rich like ganache and you can't speed through it.
I'm glad, too, that you found a course you like!

Mare said...

Peace be with you too my friend! Have a lovely weekend...

Tracy said...

Beautifully said... In the past year my meditation practice has expanded, along with chakra & crystal healing, and that "little taste of freedom" is the sensation more and more...mostly a sensation of being flooded with love. This love has me reaching a more compassionate place toward myself and others. Thank you for sharing your insights. :o)