In my last post I got started on the top three doubts that come up during compassion meditation. Then I spent all my words on just the first one (I'll get flooded) and never got to the next two (helps nobody but me and don't have time). So in the spirit of continuity, let's tackle these last two:
This Helps Nobody But Me
Many folks who come to our workshops love the compassion practices. They feel better, more whole, hopeful, uplifted. But some of them hit a little hurdle when they think it through.
The question goes something like -
"This is all fine and good for me. But it doesn't actually directly help all the people I'm trying to help, right?"
In a word, no.
And then the follow-up: "So what's the point?"
The point, as far as we understand it, is to build qualities of the heart. We build these qualities - compassion, resilience - in much the same way we'd build a muscle: through repetition.
As we build these qualities through repetition, they become a part of who we are. And as they become a part of who we are, we then extend a stable warmth and kindness outward toward others.
And that is what's actually helpful to all the people we're trying to help.
I Don't Have Time
This topic really deserves a whole post - or even a series of posts. Time, and its perceived exiguousness, are the absolute bane of modern life. And one of the biggest barriers to meditation - compassion or other - is the almost ontological assumption, "I don't have time."
Given that we don't have the space to really unpack this here, let me just throw out a quick statement of faith and list a couple tips.
Statement of faith: You do have time.
Here's a few simple tips to get you going:
1. Meditate first thing
One thing I've found is that, if I can wake up a little early and do my meditation, there's about a 100% chance I'll do it. If I don't do it first thing, that percentage slips big time. Of course, getting up a little early means going to bed a little early. And so lately I'm in the habit of conking out right around the time the French eat dinner.
2. Take Little Sips
Besides my morning meditation, I like to schedule myself for little five minute "sips" during the day. I'll do five minutes during my lunch break, five minutes between clients, maybe five minutes right before I leave work. This way I'm keeping my momentum throughout the day.
3. Remember why
Need some inspiration? Here's a link to the five-part series I wrote about the empirically validated benefits of meditation. Here's a link to Dan Harris's three-minute talk (with cartoons) on why Mindfulness is a Superpower. And if you're looking for a thousand good reasons to meditate, try typing "Why meditate" into your favorite search engine.
Okay, that’s what I’ve got for today. Big takeaways: compassion helps you which helps others. And YES YOU CAN!
All good things,