CT meditates: a comedy (13). Extending compassion

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Okay, I’m mixing my metaphors now, between yoga and meditation. And some of you probably think “what’s the difference? it is all new-agey stuff anyway.”

From both the Book of Joy (see recent post) and Start Here (recent post), the practice of compassion can be linked to a brief meditative exercise. One starts with thinking of oneself, and then gradually broadening the horizon. So, to start, sit quietly, and thinking of a close friend:

May you   … be free of suffering
… be happy
… be healthy
… live in peace and joy.

This should be relatively easy to do. Each step from here gets progressively harder, if you are being honest with yourself. Next, think of your self and make the same statements:

May I         … be free of suffering
… be happy
… be healthy
… live in peace and joy.

Even more difficult. Think of someone you only know casually; perhaps someone at work. Or harder yet, someone you know and with whom you have a tough time getting along. Same statements.

Finally, think of ALL beings, and make the same statement.

Work up to it. Don’t strain yourself. I would argue that even a brief 5 minute exercise working through these statements can: stretch your brain, generate some internal observations, and surely will alter your world view just a little. It did for me.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit! (and perhaps fold that into today’s 5 minutes).

CMIO’s take? Who knew that there is a step-by-step exercise for compassion? And that it benefits ME at least as much as it does others?

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, University of Colorado Health; Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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