“Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” -Pema Chodron
Tuesday night, I stayed up, eyes glued to my TV, watching along with the rest of our country as the votes rolled in.
I almost didn’t write a blog post this week because I was unsure of how to address a political race that has split the people I know and the country as a whole.
As I sat mulling, I was reminded of the meditation and mindfulness workshop I attended earlier this week.
The teacher shared Jon Kabet-Zinn’s (the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) definition for mindfulness: “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”
Mindfulness isn’t easy. We can save a thousand Pinterest images about it, but they call it a practice for a reason.
The non-judgemental part is, in my opinion, a key element and, simultaneously, one of the harder aspects of mindfulness.
We’re naturally wired to compare, often leading us to judge ourselves and others. We’re also, by nature, egocentric. It’s hard enough to quiet the incessant chatter in our minds, let alone remove its judgment. But, today, my offering is mindfulness. Compassionate, non-judgmental mindfulness.
I know I have readers who are split and reside on both sides of the political fence. I’d like to believe we can move forward approaching our individual beliefs with passion and conviction while holding judgement-free compassion for those who disagree with us.
Man, I know, that’s easier said than done. It’s a tough pill to swallow. It is so much easier to sit in hate and point fingers. I’m not sure where that gets us, though.
I do not want to start a political debate, but I do want to offer that, at the end of the day, whichever side we all fall on, we’re living in this country together, with the ostensible intention for the greater good.
If a rising tide lifts all ships, then we have to rise together by strengthening our compassion for one another and waking up our mindfulness, despite our conflicting views.
Mind you, compassion is not synonymous with weakness, rolling over, or having no backbone. Compassion does not mean you have to agree with or approve. Compassion doesn't mean don't fight for what you believe in. Compassion does not mean swallow your voice.
Compassion is simply sympathy for the suffering of others. Compassionate mindfulness is doing so with awareness and non-judgment.
Again, I'm not saying this is easy.
Today, I’m sharing a loving-kindness meditation.
I’ll expound on the benefits of meditation and how much it’s helped me another day. For today, I’ll simply share that meditation is a great practice to strengthen our mindfulness.
Loving-kindness meditations focus our compassion and kindness first to ourselves, then outward to those close to us, those neutral to us, those we dislike or feel hostile towards, and finally to all.
A loving-kindness meditation is fitting in the midst of our political divide. Sending compassion and kindness to those who disagree with us can be challenging, yet healing.
A loving-kindness meditation has no conditions, and it isn’t reserved for those people we think “deserve” it. In this meditation, we send out loving thoughts without expecting anything in return.
If you’re up for the challenge, or just want to dip your toes into the meditation waters, I made this short loving-kindness meditation for you. It’s just over 5 minutes long. All you have to do is set aside a few minutes, sit in a quiet space, open your mind, download your free meditation, and press play.
Wishing you all loving-kindness, whether you bleed blue or red.
P.S. I’m cooking up a few surprises for the month of Nov. I can't wait to share them! Stay tuned 🙂