So hello, and welcome to our Monday gathering. And, um, today I met the insect retreat center. It's lovely to be in this meditation hall. And the topic for this week is compassion. And to talk about in a particular way, building on two weeks ago that the most compassion as well, some kind of building on this. And last week, the topic was different ways of being aware. And the importance of that for compassion is that if we only have one way to be aware, that mode of awareness might not be the best and healthiest way for us to be present for suffering and ourselves and suffering and others. It might be, for example, there's someone mostly aware through feelings. And that's the only way they know how to know anything is through the vehicle of feelings. Some the suffering world might just feel too much. And our own suffering might feel too much. It's important to feel, but it's also important to find the awareness that we can be present for something where we're not weighed down by what's the experience is, and, and so if someone who feels a lot might be able to shift a little bit into an observing mode, maybe observing kind of from a little bit of distance, or they might be more in a not feeling so much, but kind of a clear mental recognition of what's happening, and that the feelings are still there. But coming into the mode of recognition, knowing Oh, this is pain, this is somewhat sadness, that the then it might be easier to be present for it might be able to find a place of a light touch, being present in a way that has a certain degree of ease or lightness in the Awareness itself, then that becomes the that lightness or that ease or the calmness around how we're aware, that makes a room for compassion to arise, rather than distress to arise, rather than fear or alarm arising. And so the mode in which we're aware can affect how we're how we're, how we can have compassion. And then also, if we're compassionate, the mode in which we're relating to things, the mode in which we're aware, can affect how we enact to compassion, how we live from that compassion. And so the compassion is lived in a way that maybe it's not so heavy, or doesn't come from a sense of duty, or doesn't come from a sense of, of, you know, doesn't mix up with fear or ego or all kinds of things that can be there. So what I'd like to do this week, is offer you what I'm calling the seven factors of compassion. And they're the same as the common Buddhist list of the seven factors of awakening. And so the first one is mindfulness. So the mindfulness factor of compassion, the investigation factor of compassion, the effort factor of compassion, the joy factor of compassion, tranquility, factor of compassion, the concentration, factor of compassion and the equanimity factor of compassion. And, and what's kind of lovely is that, when we live from compassion, the seven factors of awakening, follow along. And the first one being mindfulness. There's a way in which, coming from a compassionate place, responding to things compassionately brings with it. Mindfulness mindfulness build, is kind of comes along without any real having to work at it. People only practice mindfulness there are times where it's kind of work to you like it feels like you're doing the mindfulness you Okay, here, I've drifted off that to come back and have to do it again. And, but when compassion isn't the forefront, there's a way in which mindfulness can follow effortlessly. It's not like we have to work at AT AT being mindful. And so self, so same thing for the other factors. So to make this bet, easier to understand this, I would like to give kind of a school playground example. Say you're visiting a playground and there's a A small child, maybe five, six year old child, four or five, four or five year old child who's playing had lots of fun in the playground. But then the child trips and scrapes her. Maybe she scrapes her knee, she's wearing shorts, and so the knee rubs across the asphalt and get scraped, and maybe it's 30. And there's little gravel and, and so she's quite stunned and shocked that, you know, she was having so much fun. And now suddenly, she's in pain, she's confused. She's upset, and in pain. And it's relatively common schoolyard kind of injury. And so she comes running to you. And, and so you feel her distress, you feel her see that she has a wound. But this you've, you've had this for yourself and playgrounds you've seen before, this is a kind of a common thing, she told me she is going to be fine. What she needs is someone who just cares for her is present in a calm way and begins taking care of her in a nice way. And, and so you decide that you should, you know, she's calms down. And so you're going to with compassion and care, you want to clean her wound, because it's gravel and grit in there. And, and so, but it hurts, it hurts for to touch it even with a flow of water. So you get maybe a soft cotton ball or something or, and it's moist, and you're very lightly tap the wound, in order to pick up some of the dirt that's there. And you do it with you really don't want to hurt her you care about her, you would have settled her you don't want him to agitate or more. So there's this love and care to do this as carefully as you can. And so you bring your attention into that, you know, to paying attention to her very carefully to see what the response will be when you touch. So you can pull back quickly if she's, if it's things are too much. And so, but you know, use very gently, and that you're very careful about how quickly you do it, the pressure you put on on the wound, there's a lot of attention. What's driving the attention is the compassion, they care for the girl. What's what follows in the wake of that care is a lot of mindfulness, a lot of attention there to really be present to take in this situation. No one needs to tell you be aware, pay attention, be mindful, come back to the present moment. That just follows along with deep motivation to care for this person and to be attentive in a nice way to not cause you know, more pain for her. And not only do you have to, you know, there's a lot of awareness and attention there. There is what in Buddhism is called investigation, which is to be discerned very discerning about what causes more pain and what causes less, what supports her, what doesn't support her, what kind of tone of voice to speak, what tone of voice not to speak, partly take me into cues from her. And as you speak and as you say things and and so there's a lot of care not only in being present. But in making distinctions between what is useful here and what is not useful. The compassion takes the lead. And this idea of kind of being considerate about you know what, what could hurt her more, what's going to hurt her less is kind of effortless. It's like obvious, of course, if you want to carefully care for her a wound and to clean it and put a bandage on, of course, you're going to try to pay attention to the way to do it. That causes the least amount of painful, her least amount of distress. So just tuning into all these little factors and what what's useful and not useful. And, and so that what what's an elite here is compassion. So one way to develop mindfulness is to be compassionate.
One way to be compassionate, is to be mindful is to develop your capacity to be aware in a light way in a calm way and open way. So that then the tenderness the warmth of your heart has a chance as a room to be there. When we're aware in a heavy way or strong way or if we're angry and we're being aware. The anger doesn't give much room if we're full of desires ever full of fear. There's not much room for anything to arise in the field of awareness. But if we can learn the art, even with fear and anger are in distress, the art of giving a light touch a lightness and ease, ease fulness and a mindfulness. Just that, you might find that there's more, a little more space, to have care and love and compassion, kindness, for yourself for the distress you have, and for others for the difficulty they have. And then once the compassion is there, to let that be in the forefront to act on that to live that way to have compassion, maybe not in such a way that everyone knows you're being compassionate, because that might be a little bit too much for some people. But but you care, you're bringing a caring and a kindness to your things to people and events. And then then notice that as you do that, is there. Can you notice the ease ease four way in which you are aware, you're mindful? Can you notice the kind of the matter of fact, obvious way in which you're investigating, you're making distinctions between what makes it what supports the situation and what doesn't what's helpful and what's not helpful. That compassion is wise compassion. When we act on it, or lift motivated by it brings along a lot of different factors that support that compassion, without even sometimes even needing to think about it. Provided that we don't get locked in with a compassion or alarmed or fearful or dutiful and the compassion is doesn't become heavy. When there's a lot of suffering in the world, and you might feel obligated, I have to be heavy, I have to be serious, my compassion has to be strong. Now. The paradox of all this is that the best form of compassion that we can have, is not strong compassion, it's or heavy compassion. It's light, compassion, it's calm, compassion. It's compassion that has lots of room for things, including lots of room for yourself. And it's that kind of compassion that brings along with it. Attention, attentiveness, mindfulness. And that brings along with it, discerning about what's helpful or not helpful, or that question looking and seeing what appears helpful. All with a light touch. All with the kind of light touch that is sustainable for compassion over a long time. And that's one of the things we're looking for, in compassion, a sustainable compassion. Because compassion that is heavy or strong, or that's too tight to connected with other kinds of challenges we have, will have compassion, fatigue will get exhausted very quickly. But this lightness of light touch. So maybe think of living a life of compassion, you know, is more like a marathon than a sprint. And so America marathon also you kind of start off with a kind of a light run. And so so the seven factors of compassion, that follow along follow, built on compassion. And today, I mentioned to mindfulness and discernment or investigation, and you might see as you go about your day to day, maybe try to have a light touch with your awareness. But to have a light, compassion, or light care, or like love or kindness, that allows her to be room for attention, awareness of what is happening in this field of kindness, what's happening in this field of compassion, and then maybe you start seeing how mindfulness can follow compassion. Discernment follows, and see how those work together and, and, and maybe you'll find that it's even easier to be mindful and develop your mindfulness. If it's guided by compassion, then it's guided by a sense of, you know, it's good for you or something. So, thank you. And we'll continue from IRC tomorrow. And thank you for being here.