2023-07-31-Gil-Compassionate Action (1 of 5) For the Sake of Others
8:56PM Aug 4, 2023
Hello, and this Monday morning, and now happy to be here with you all. Also quite happy to have had my wonderful colleagues teach while I was gone. It's a pretty wonderful thing for me to have such wonderful teachers as kind of colleagues, companions, dharma friends, who I feel like we're, you know, kind of a team together now that are teaching here at 7am, on YouTube. And to feel that, you know, to hear from some of you, that I've heard how much you appreciate the so called guest teachers who come when I'm gone. And for me, it's so wonderful to feel that we're teaching together with them overall, where we're kind of a team or, you know, together. So it's nice, thank you for that I thank them for being here when I was gone, and, and as it turns out, that
I'll be here this week, and then I'll be gone again for two or three weeks. And so then I'll be back for a couple of weeks, then gone for a few weeks, and then back a little bit, just be a lot, a lot lot like this through the end of the year. And maybe next year, I can settle down to be here more. So but I'm very fortunate to be here today with all of you. And to continue the series I've been doing a for maybe six, seven weeks now on compassion, different aspects of compassion, the foundations for compassion, and hoping, I'm hoping are trying to expand outwards for you, the richness of what compassion is, and all the dimensions of it and aspects of it. So that you can appreciate the, the, you know, the, the, the, the, you know, how to be compassionate in this world, how to bring forth this beautiful quality we have, and a way that is nourishing for you. And nourishing for others. It's been the first person I heard really teach this was that it was Dalai Lama, that if you want to be happy, be compassionate care for others. And, and so this association with personal happiness and well being in having compassion, care, love, for others, is a really profound aspect. But to find that, really, I think it really helps to understand more deeply the different aspects, the different things that come together to support the healthy forms of compassion. It's too easy for compassion to be feel like it's an obligation, it's too easy for compassion to be a reaction to our own distress or own pain. Sometimes, what looks like compassion is really trying is trying to certainly trying to help others not suffer. But the motivation is mostly so we don't suffer. So we're gonna get we were too uncomfortable trying to, you know, make ourselves more comfortable. Or it could come with an excessive feeling of responsibility or, or a feeling of, you know, trying to it's kind of an exchange, the wanting to be compassionate to others, so that we can get something back from them their approval or something. But to have clean compassion, compassion that needs nothing in return, compassion that is does not come out of our distress, does not come out of our conceit does not come out of our fears, and doesn't come out of obligation, a sense of obligation, but rather comes out of some Wellspring within that that is sweet. That is satisfying that has a rightness to it. And sometimes the suffering of the world that we contact. It just doesn't you can't really feel like the compassion is sweet or has a right as a, you know, even joy, your happiness in it. Because it's the suffering is so great. But we don't feel as still we don't feel distressed or obligated. It doesn't trigger our conceit since self concepts of what who we are and who we're trying to prove to be or something. And so there's a kind of feeling of rightness or a feeling of Yeah, kind of yes, this is painful. This is difficult. This is terrible. And I mean hear in a clear and clean way to do the best I can and that clarity that cleanness that openness, is, is kind of what contributes to in the long term, that stepping out of our own little inner dramas about ourselves and into the wider world of caring for the world and being open and available, is one of the really fantastic things that the person can do. And so hopefully, these talks have been supportive for this. And, and so I've kind of looked now at compassion, I'm kind of looking at compassion through five lens of five different aspects of compassion, or five different supports for compassion. And a week on each of these have awareness, attunement, appreciation, aspiration, and to this week, it's action. And many people's think of action almost first and foremost, with compassion, we have to do something, we have to step up and, and save, save others or step by step up and somehow take care of them. And certainly, sometimes, what's needed is needs to be done immediately. But to, to have cultivated and developed a capacity to, to show up to be mindful to be present in a full and embodied and, and wise way, supports the possibility that when it's a when immediate action is needed, that it comes along almost a second nature, a capacity for wise awareness, a capacity for wise attunement to the situation, a capacity for really a deep appreciation of the people, the persons that were involved in respect for them, and appropriate aspiration for what we want to do. And then that supports the action. And action may be is, you know, is one of the central features of compassion, it isn't just simply wanting people not to suffer, feel their suffering, have empathy for it, and wish that they don't suffer. That's significant. But there's one more step, and that is action to do something. And some people, it's only by doing something in the world doing some acting, that we begin dissolving some of the crusts, some of the hardness of our sometimes our laziness sometimes are in decisiveness, sometimes are hurt sometimes our stubbornness, sometimes our, our way, we're close the way we're afraid, all kinds of things where we get stuck, and, and maybe frozen in despair that we have sometimes with, and but to step forward and act, there's something about the movement of activity that begins loosening us up, that begins almost getting ourselves out of ourselves. And so, to head to an action that's beneficial for some other someone else besides ourselves, where the focus of attention, part of the focus of attention is on the other person, enough so that self preoccupation, self, you know, sometimes the self preoccupation for some of us is almost a kind of an addiction, that we're so kind of centered and so concerned, maybe because our life has been very confusing and very disorganized and very disorienting and very painful. And so of course, in those kinds of situations, it's, it's almost necessary to have a lot of attention on oneself, in order to find one's way in order to survive and to somehow continue and don't want to be little how some people really need as a first step in their lives. essential step is to be focused on themselves. But it's easy to get stuck there. It's easy to for that to be built up in such a way that there's a wall between self and other there's a closeness, there's a collapsing inwards. And so how do we loosen that up? And, and action makes a big difference. And so to act for the sake of someone else, to such a degree that's Some, there's some kind of self forgetting, some kind of dropping of self concern, some kind of, of,
of lacking of lacking or dropping conceit. And I keep saying some kind, because we don't want to lose ourselves. In the compassionate action, we don't want to lose touch with what's happening inside of ourselves, we want to be responsible, we want to be mindful and monitor ourselves in what's happening. And that's why these words, these concepts of a developing awareness, attunement is such an important foundation for might for mindfulness and to really have a strong foundation and awareness practices. So you're tracking and knowing what's happening within when we stress when we're getting caught up, or getting afraid or getting overly ambitious and kind of contract ourselves. But there's a way of tracking ourselves and being present. That's not exactly focusing on ourselves. It's kind of being present and aware of the whole environment, including self, it's kind of like, if you turn on a light, small light in the middle of a dark room. In a sense, it's very fast, super fast, so you can't tell. But the light radiates outwards. And it's first lights up the part of the room that's closest to the lamp, and then outward, and outward until it gets to the walls of the room. And you know, with the kind of speed in which we can notice in the eye, it's all instantaneous. But but so the same thing with awareness is it spreads outwards from ourselves. And first it touches us and knows what's happening here. Without it being the kind of confused by self preoccupation, defining ourselves by what's going on limiting ourselves by our identity of who we are in the moment. And trying to prove ourselves trying to protect ourselves, trying to defend ourselves through whatever it might be. So we want to be aware of ourselves. But in that awareness, the self Park begins falls away, we're aware of the motions and feelings and sensations here. And we're very aware of the people we're helping, we're extending ourselves, opening ourselves, letting self almost disappear in the process. So in this way, the action of compassion is focused on supporting and helping others. But it also is supportive of ourselves support of our own inner freedom, to offer our compassion with a sense of freedom, without resistance, without attachments. And to find our own freedom. This is where compassion can be the beginning of a source of joy, a source of sweetness, a source of goodness is sort of a source of ripeness, and a source of a deeper connection to what I call the sacred, sacred aspect of life. Compassion, ideally, but being deeply attuned and appreciative of other people. And ourselves, we're not just putting band aids, on people's cuts, we are putting band aids on people have cuts as a way of communicating a deep care for their hearts for their inner life for their fullness as a human being and a way of offering our respect and our fuller love and our appreciation, and delight and joy in the other person as a human being and their humanity, no matter who they are. So yes, the putting a bandaid on someone's cut is valuable. But the but the deeper forms of compassion that would bring the joy is that's the vehicle for a deep connection to our own sacredness, the sacredness of others, and the meeting of those two, in the act of compassion. So to this week, the idea is to talk about action, the fifth of these parts of compassion and and when that we've started, so, if you'd like over the next 24 hours until we meet again, you might see and study the ways in which you do nice things for other people. Whether you open a door, whether you let somebody else have the short line in the supermarket, and let them have it first whether it's smiling at as a supermarket checkout clerk and being kind to them and whether it's helping someone with some little tasks they need or offering to do someone a favor or do an errand for someone also so many different ways we might actually do something for other people, for strangers for people we know well, colleagues, as you do the small things for others are big things for others. monitor yourself, see, see what's happening here? And in that doing for others? Is their contraction is their fears their self preoccupation? Is their conceit, theirs are concerned about their desire for how you're seen in a good way? Or, or is there a way to drop all that and to have the care to be somehow a beautiful act of generosity, beautiful act of opening and letting go of self concern appropriately, letting go of self concern, certain kinds of self concern, so that it's there's a feeling of freedom and openness in the care for others. And maybe also a sense that you'd be doing more than simply you know, offering someone to have the shorter line in their supermarket or giving people the right away on the freeway. There's some a deeper sense of this other people's being the depths of their humanity and, and care that we want to offer. So thank you. And then, thank you. And now we'll be here again tomorrow.