2023-03-24-Gil-Apects of Compassion (5 of 5) Action
5:42PM Mar 24, 2023
So then today we come to the fifth element of compassion, action. And it's actually very important that we act. There's something empowering something freeing something enlivening in actually acting, rather than just had wishful thinking, rather than living under the weight and burden. Rather than just feeling the challenges and the suffering of the world. And, and even a small acts, count for our hearts, small acts, who knows how much they'll benefit others. Sometimes small acts of kindness of compassion, have the biggest impact. And, but always, it's important act. But we have to be very careful what that means and how we take that in. If we live under the obligation that we have to go and help someone else, then it's very easy to add stress, tension to that very effort, and to bring along and can imbue it with something which is actually maybe not beneficial for yourself and others. One form of action is, in fact, to keep purifying oneself to really clarify and develop oneself. And, and so there are times when we feel the suffering of the world. And maybe we can't do anything, and there's so much suffering, if you read the news, and we're not going to reach out to all of it. But we can still be moved by it, we can still do the first four of these elements of compassion. And as we move into action, it's not necessarily to do things directly for the people that are suffering. But sometimes it's just simply to go through that cycle of, of awareness, appreciation, very awareness, attunement, appreciation and aspiration. Again, the kind of the, it's kind of like a cleansing, it's kind of like a refining, it's a smoothing out it's a, it's a growing, of the, of the, of the clarity of that compassion, the fullness of that compassion and care. So it becomes stronger, and it becomes less and less mixed with tension with suffering. Many times compassion, when there's a quick impulse to be compassionate, we don't realize how much we bring along, our conceit, our ideas of self of others of, of pity, of, of tension of obligation, that kind of messes it up in some way. There is something like a natural compassion that can well up, I feel very fortunate because there's my discovery of really the beauty and the wonder of compassion. Was it found me through this repeated meditation practice I did. And just by meditating, day and day and day, for years, it welled up, it's like I made space, the the hindrances for compassion settled, and there lo and behold, there was this beautiful feeling of compassion and care and love. That was there. It was, it first was there without the need to do anything or a specific direction that had to be addressed. It was just there. And I would appreciate the beauty of compassion. So one of the reasons to be recursive, to go back, the action is to go back and go through this cycle of mindfulness again, maybe when you're meditating is so you can start discovering the natural compassion, that really is quite beautiful. And sometimes that can the action of compassion. And the aspiration for suffering to end for someone leads us to say, well, I can do something is not just wishful thinking. It's a wish that yes, I can do something for them, I can do something for the world. And, and then, but to do it on this foundation of the first four elements, hopefully means that that there can be a beauty. There can be an attunement, there can be a naturalness in the action that we do. And so it isn't a sense of heavy responsibility. It isn't sense of like, bear bearing down, I got to do something and, and then maybe do something because I'm angry and I have to fix something in the world. Yes, I have compassion, but I'm angry and I'm gonna go do something. The natural compassion that can well up, when we really centered on ourself, really have this autonomous awareness, this deep attunement, this, this agency that goes into kind of clarifying at all, that there's a beauty to it, and a pleasure to it, there's a it's a kind of source of happiness, that is not happiness, that is something we're intending to be happy, because it's not about us. Because there's something because of this, the purity, that clarity, that simplicity, the absence of, of, of dust, the absence of tension, the absence that it's doing, than the, then when we get ready to act, there's a simplicity to it, and naturalness to it, a beauty to it, and a kind of pleasure, something that feels good. And I was so surprised when I started discovering how good it felt, just to have these very simple acts of care and attention and compassion for other people. And at first I thought is this okay is, are we allowed to do this, because it's felt so good, you know, and, and, and, you know, just suit yourself am I do have enough for selfish reasons. But I found very quickly that as soon as I tried to do it for myself, that that messed it up, but there had to be kind of a kind of an absence of self, in the action in the care. And there's something deeper than the self concern, self preoccupation, that was motivating the whole thing. So and then if it comes as natural compassion is natural action, then it's one that's attuned to oneself attuned to the situation. And even if what it is, is sending a check, for a good cause, that there's a there's a kind of a delight to joy and to be able to do it the kind of kind of steep satisfaction, a kind of pleasure happiness that you used to be able to do that. It isn't like, oh, I should do more. Something's just Oh, yes, this is good. If a friend is suffering, and all you're on what seems right to just go over and sit near them, you don't have to get more involved, sit near them and see what happens. Maybe it's near them might be, you know, 10 feet away, and sit there and be available and see what happens. And, and there are people sometimes who find it so meaningful as they suffer, that they were accompanied from a distance someone was there with them? Or maybe you sit closer. Maybe you don't say much. And, and because just sharing the space is enough with them. Maybe it's getting someone a glass of water. You see they're distressed, and can I bring you some water? Can I you know, let me know, are you hungry? There's so many small ways in which compassion can take form. I know this is not necessarily, you know, small, but I had this wonderful experience when with my son when he was small. And maybe it was five years old or something. I was going out to a Mexican restaurant to get a burrito or something with him. And, and there was a homeless person in front of the restaurant asking for money for some food. And and so I said, Well, come on, come with us. And I'll buy you something. And so he came in, and he just ordered that the simplest thing like a simple burrito, and I said, Don't you don't want more? And he said, No, no, it's just enough. And I thought what I thought maybe he was just his chance to anyway, so he offered to eat with us. But he said no. And he left. And, and I didn't think too much about it until I left the restaurant, and he was waiting outside for us. And he had no paper. But he had found a brown garbage, you know, a shopping bag. And he was a poet. And he said I wrote a poem, and I want to read it to you and thanks. And he read this beautiful poem to us. It didn't give us the poem. But he read this beautiful poem and and and that was his thanks and I said wow, who gave who the gift here? It was you know it's pretty simple for me to pay for his burrito. But wow, what a beautiful thing to take the time to write something and so nice. So so two What did we what can we do hard and what how do we do it in a natural way? And and how do we do act? So the action that we do benefits ourselves, if it's only about benefiting someone else, that it's too easy for it to get messed up.
And if it's only about ourselves, it certainly will be messed up. But there's a way of caring for both to be attuned to both. And being attuned to oneself is not be attuned to our, our concept of self or our alter ego or something. To be attuned to self is to be attuned to the motivations and the sensations and our suffering and our joys and our pleasure. attune to where the beauty is here, the selfless beauty so that when we act, that's what flowers on us, not, not our selfishness. So compassion is a profound and wonderfully natural aspect of the human heart. It's kind of a birthright is kind of who in some ways, at some point, you realize, oh, this is it could be it could be it becomes a point where we feel this is who I am. This is what I want to orient my life with. Because it feels so integral, and so right. It's not a duty, it's not an obligation. It's an expression of some of the deepest understandings deepest ways of being centered here in a selfless way. And to be able to come into the world, to express this deep, deep, beautiful, inspiring part of our hearts is one of the greatest things to do in this life. And until we really discover that and can live that don't underestimate and one of the greatest actions you can do is this practice of mindfulness and awareness. really cultivate awareness, attunement, appreciation, aspiration, these four things are part of the profundity of who we are. And to practice them and go through them and deepen, just clarify. And then when the time comes for action, you'll know when, when the time is. Sometimes the action occurs when nothing else makes sense. And so May we all be agents of change, to change the world to make it a better place. I teach the dharma to help individuals to support individuals. And my aspiration is that, and my trust is that as we individually blossom into dharma, that we benefit this world, I would like this dharma to really flower and benefit the whole world. And so this process of clarifying our compassion is, you know, it's one of the profound ways that we become agents of peace, agents of joy and support and compassion. So thank you all very much for this. And And next week, I'll be on retreat at the retreat center and insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz, and very happy that Nikki Mirghafori will be coming back one of the great teachers here at IMC and you'll be in good hands with her. And they'll be back in the following week. And I was thinking that probably I would like to continue this theme of compassion. And there's because there's much more that's invaluable about it. So probably I'll do that when he come back. So thank you very much and look forward to being here and the week after next