Trends are funny things. There’s an interesting synchronicity to it all and my Google Reader is no exception. In the past few days Everything Yoga, Joy Yoga and Zen Habits have all posted related articles about thinking through situations rather than just reacting to them. In yoga and meditation, this concept is sometimes called being the silent observer.
All three of the posts speak at some level of compassion, whether it’s to ourselves as we learn to not be the victims in our own lives, or by displaying compassion to others. This has come at a particularly poignant time for me since work seems to be throwing some very challenging patrons and situations in my path. The reminder to be compassionate to them is timely, as is the reminder to be compassionate to myself and understand that these people are not unhappy with me (most of the time), but at the situation. It has nothing to do with me and I need to get my ego out of the way.
The author over at Everything Yoga talks about spiritual materialism, which is “when we deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our ego through spiritual techniques.” It dovetails with Lindsey’s post over at Joy Yoga about
when we admit our faults, our mistakes, expose our insecurities … we gain the power to change how we feel about this situation, and how the next one plays out. We’re no longer victims, we’re no longer at the mercy of the people who are pissing us off, making us sad, or just taking us to a restaurant we’ll complain about later.
Rather than get all wrapped up in my own ego and blame myself for someone else’s feelings, I can step back, become that silent observer, and choose to act in a manner that is compassionate for both the other person and myself.
Since starting to practice yoga and meditation, I can recognize my “triggers” and choose how I want to react. Before I would have just reacted, usually in a way that was negative for the other person and myself. I am far, far from a perfect, always compassionate and understanding person, but I feel like I have more awareness of self and of others.
Leo over at my favorite blog, Zen Habits, presents five simple steps to “Quit Being Such a Jerk“. The realization that we are not perfect and even the nicest person can be inconsiderate at times, is a hard pill to swallow, but an important one. Relating back to letting go of our ego and being as caring and compassionate to ourselves as we are to others, Leo takes it a step further, encouraging people to practice, practice, practice. The only way to become a more compassionate and considerate person is to do it, live it, make it a habit.
Imagine what life would be like if we all included one conscious act of compassion in our day.