Today, is it possible to look at all people with the eyes of compassion? To practice looking at even those who frustrate you, annoy you, anger you, disgust you with softer eyes? To see beyond the exterior mask they wear? Some times it’s helpful to imagine them as a newborn baby and how their mother looked at them for the first time.
Some times we need to imagine our own selves as a newborn in order to see our innate goodness. Sometimes we need to first see our own selves with the eyes compassion, to see that we are suffering, in some way, when our hearts are closed off. When we feel connected, safe, resourced, and like we belong, our hearts naturally open, expand, and include. When we feel disconnected, unsafe, threatened, under resourced, and isolated, we close off, we contract, we judge, and we exclude.
People don’t hurt others when they feel connected, safe, resourced, loved, regarded, and like they belong.
We have all heard: “It takes a village to raise a child.” What if we looked at all beings as our children? What if we looked at even those who hurt others as our children, our suffering, disconnected children? What if, instead of judging, polarizing people into ‘good’ or ‘evil,’ we acknowledge our own grief and suffering inside of us and have the intent to include others in our hearts and prayers who are suffering and act gruffly, annoy us, hurt us?
Such inclusion in our hearts, such eyes of compassion for others does not condone the actions of others. It does not say, “Do whatever you want to me.” It does not say, “don’t take responsibility for your actions.” And actually, when we practice seeing the “other” with eyes of compassion, our ability to have appropriate boundaries and limits expands. The right action to take arises. We may decide to end a friendship that is not nourishing, and still have compassion for them. We may decide to never see a person again, and still not exclude them from our hearts.
It’s a profound practice. In it, we realize that we hurt our own hearts when we exclude. We suffer when we close off our hearts. We flourish, we live with a lighter, more powerful heart when every single person is included in our hearts.
Such inclusion is the ultimate healing balm to grieving hearts. In time.
So, tomorrow, when we wake up, vow to act with compassion. And when you don’t, have eyes of compassion for yourself and begin again. We all have 24 hours to begin again and again and again. And each time we do, our hearts expand…and heal.