Napa Valley Insight Meditation Message Board › Compassion and Service: Readings for May 15th NVMG meeting
This week, Wednesday May 15th, we will focus on compassion and its role in helping us discern our greater purpose in the world. The reading for the discussion is from the 9th Step in Awakening Joy, pages 256 - 261. You can printout out a copy of the 9th Step by clicking on the link below.
One of the goals of compassion practice is to help us assess our life’s purpose. As James Baraz’s puts it:
“Each one of us has our own hidden purpose inside, and needs to uncover it and give it wings. Service is one of the things that gets us in touch with that most natural and trusted part of ourselves.”
Practicing compassion can help us to come to terms with the suffering in the world in honest and wholesome ways. When we hear about injustice or great suffering, instead of giving into our stories of helplessness, anger, or fear, we can change our relationship to these events by simply pausing and noticing how we feel. If we feel outrage or helplessness, it’s probably because whatever is happening has touched a place of deep caring inside.
A good practice for discovering our place of service is to visualize problems that have great emotional “juice”. When you do this, see if you can move beyond feelings of helplessness or dismay, and focus on the caring that underlies your emotions. See if you can keep your heart open in comparison rather than closed in anger and frustration. Ask yourself how you might respond? Whatever action you decide to take – volunteering, writing a letter, sending money – see if you can commit to doing it as part of a conscious compassion practice
Please feel free to share any insights you might have gained from this practice with your fellow yogis this week. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.