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Birthing the Heart: Compassion

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2014-10-14
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



When many of us think of love we think of compassion, but love has many faces, compassion being just one of them. Compassion is the natural response of love to suffering, and love is the warm hearted connection with everything. In order for love to continue its compassionate response, we have to allow suffering to be experienced. If we turn away, love’s response will be obstructed by our aversion, and we will act from our aversive response rather than our compassionate one. Like all openings to love, compassion requires our stillness of being, which to the ego feels like being defenseless and vulnerable. The ego would rather move toward reaction than be defenseless, so it breeds hostility and indignation as its counter response to suffering. This puts “us” back into control and then “we” set out to do something about this outrage. But if we forestall this fear reaction and sit for a while within the vulnerability and stillness of suffering, a truer and more interconnected response emerges. We realize that the world is broken apart by a 1000 acts of righteousness but comes together only through love.


This week make a point to experience pain wherever you may find it. Read the paper and listen to the news from this perspective. Put aside your defense mechanism that says, “They deserve what they got.” Revise your perception to see the world in terms of suffering and the end of suffering rather than good and bad. Do not seek a defense from the pain in your heart. Feel the pain on the other side of these issues. Picture the human beings behind the stories. Feel your own vulnerability, how this could be you. Whenever you encounter pain this week offer the phrase, “I care that you (I) are in pain.”


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