Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Compassion and self-healing

Here's a story I used in ongoing meditation class this week. It's from a book entitled Heal Thy Self and it's by Saki Santorelli.
Twenty years ago I met a man from Montana who watched the news on television and read the newspapers because he said that doing so awakened his heart of compassion. Although not particularly interested in the news itself, he found these two forms of media rich sources for cultivating his growing sense of care for and connection to people, animals, landmasses, oceans, forests, and countries all over the planet. He went on to say that he would sit down in his living room, watch or read about some atrocity occurring in some part of the world, and feel his pain, his impulse to turn away, and, in turn, his sense of connection with all of these beings.
Isn't it interesting that a story about cultivating compassion for others - and, in fact, actually feeling their pain - is included in a book about healing ourselves? When we cultivate compassion for others in a healthy way (not in a guilt-laden, compulsive way) we actually feel better - not worse.

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