Letter C: Compassion
Compassion is defined as ” a feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. “
Scientific research has shown that when you feel compassion, your heart rate slows down, your heart begins to open and your brain begins to secrete the hormone oxytocin.
Many researchers have called oxytocin the “bonding hormone.”
“Showing compassion generates oxytocin, the bonding homorone.”
Secretion of oxytocin activates the region of your brain that results in you wanting to approach and care for other people. Oxytocin helps generate feelings of love, generosity and trust. It that generation of trust through release of oxytocin that inspired neuroeconomist Paul Zak to call oxytocin “the moral molecule.”
The mind-body-spirit practice of compassion includes opening your heart and connecting to others who are suffering.
Take a look at Love Infinity’s picture above. Her picture captures a bunch of Tibetan prayer flags hung between trees. Traditionally, such prayer flags come in sets of of five colors. The five colors are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow.
The five colors represent the five elements of nature including sky, air, fire, water and earth. Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth.
Most individual prayer flags include mantras and prayers. A “mantra” is a sacred utterance, sound, syllable, word or group of words believed by practitioners to have spiritual powers (e.g., Om Mani Padme Hum, etc.). Many mantras are written in the Sanskrit language, which is a language of ancient India.
Prayers include devout petitions or spiritual communions with the Divine.
A common misconception about prayer flags is that they carry prayers to the gods. Instead, it is believed that by hanging prayer flags in high places, when wind passes over the surface of the flags, the air is purified, blessed and sanctified by the mantras and prayers included on the individual flags. The purified, blessed and sanctified air then carries the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings.
It is also believed the mantras and prayers are blown by the wind in the purified, blessed and sanctified air to spread compassion into all spaces. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring compassion to benefit to all.
So how can you open your heart and like the prayer flags spread compassion in your own life and make a positive impact in the life of others?
- Connect With Others from Your Heart Space. If you connect with others from your heart space, you are connecting to others in a transparent manner as your authentic self, who you truly are as a soul. Connecting to others through your heart space allows you to feel your own emotions and the emotions of others from the inside out in every encounter and every interaction. Connecting to others through your heart space allows you to live consciously, operate from your higher-self and your own personal connection to the Divine and interact with others with empathy and grace. Techniques for connecting to your heart space were discussed in the blog post for Letter–11–P.
- Connect With Others Without Judgement. Connecting with another person in a compassionate manner includes connecting to that person from your heart space without applying any of your personal judgements to the person or any the situation that person is facing. To avoid applying your personal judgement, determine what you have in common with the person you are interacting with. Flip your own perspective. Have you faced an identical or similar situation that caused to you suffer or feel pain? What you may have in common with the person creates an emotional link and an energetic bond between you and them. Be empathic to how the person may be suffering in their current situation or in their current environment.
- Take Actions to Ease the Suffering of Others. To live in a compassionate manner, you must take positive actions from your heart space and connect to others that you encounter in your daily life to ease their suffering. The positive actions can be very small steps such as smiling at someone, holding the door for someone, doing an errand for someone, completing a small chore for someone, saying a kind word, listening to a person’s current challenges or problems, or even simply just witnessing the person and acknowledge they are suffering. They can also be larger steps such as volunteering a larger amount of your time, buying something for someone, paying something forward for someone, etc. To truly live in a compassionate manner you should complete these small and large steps on a daily basis without comment and without expecting anything in return.
Living your life with compassion on a daily basis will create a positive impact in the lives of anyone you encounter who is suffering.
Out There on the Edge of Everything®…
Stephen Lesavich, PhD
Copyright © 2020, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD. All rights reserved.
Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.
Blog posts: Project Explanation — POSITIVE — Letter 1 – P — Letter 2 – O — Letter 3 — S — Letter 4 — I — Letter 5 — T — Letter 6 — I — Letter 7 — V — Letter 8 — E — IMPACT — Letter 9 — I — Letter 10 — M — Letter 11 — P — Letter 12 — A — Letter 13 — C — Letter 14 — T.
Podcasts: Project Explanation — POSITIVE — Letter 1 – P — Letter 2 – O — Letter 3 — S — Letter 4 — I — Letter 5 — T — Letter 6 — I — Letter 7 — V — Letter 8 — E — IMPACT — Letter 9 — I — Letter 10 — M — Letter 11 — P — Letter 12 — A — Letter 13 — C — Letter 14 — T.
Showing compassion towards myself and others is very important to me. Dr. Stephen and I understand just how much we are all connected and prefer looking at the world as “us” instead of “them” as the co-founders of the Positive Impact Global. I also use multi-colored mandalas with my prayers and mantras to help bring compassion and love to benefit everyone I personally encounter.