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What is Compassion? Explanation + Video

Compassion is what arises when love meets suffering: it is our ability to let ourselves be moved by the suffering we witness, whether in other beings or in ourselves.

Compassion is at the heart of mindfulness practice, as it is what allows us to welcome the entirety of our experience rather than discriminate between the aspects of it we like and those we don't. Because of this, compassion is a transformational and healing practice: it allows us to rest in and inhabit the entirety of who we are. When we practice self-compassion, we can begin to love ourselves into wholeness rather than discipline ourselves into becoming something we're not.

Compassion towards other beings is a transformational practice as well: it helps us realize that just as we face difficulty, so do all other beings on Earth. The inescapable unsatisfactoriness of life, called dukkha in Buddhism, is one factor that unites us all. The realization that we are fundamentally not different, or even separate, helps us act out of love rather than out of fear; it helps us cultivate peace rather than division. In doing so, practicing compassion helps us change the world.

Compassion is one of the practices we'll explore on November 6th, during the one-day online retreat titled "Re-Inhabiting Our Bodies". Making peace with our bodies and delivering unconditional love to them is a fundamental step in beginning a journey of healing and personal growth. Sign up here - I look forward to practicing with you!

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