2023-04-12 GIl Seven Factors of Compasion (3 of 5) Joy
3:01PM Apr 13, 2023
Okay, so today, the topic is the joy factor of compassion. And I think compassion is often not associated with joy. And maybe it can be associated better with joy if we realize that the word joy is of maybe a, you know, has a wide range of what it can mean. But it was a big surprise to me very big surprise, the first time that I was feeling I was I was caring for someone, someone who was challenged to make her way around and needed support and, and help. And I was just doing it in a matter of fact, way. It was just I was happy. It was kind of like, just it was natural to do it. But what surprised me as I was doing it, that the sense of pleasure and joy and well being that seemed to well up in my chest as I did it. And and that it was and I've wondered, Is this, okay? To feel this kind of sense of well being and joy in helping this person or supporting this person? And, and I, and then I've even wondered, Oh, am I doing it for the pleasure of it, they're doing it to, to help her get out, get around here. But I was so surprised by how good it felt. And, and since then, I've discovered that that when I feel compassion, that it's possible that compassion comes with a sense of rightness, a sense of joy, a sense of pleasure. And sometimes when the sufferings really huge, settle hard to see it's being or see it or recognize it as being joyful, or, you know, or exactly like, pleasure, exactly. But it just feels really good. It feels right to be a witness for the suffering to be open to it. And, and the and so how is it that compassion which is the awareness of suffering in oneself and others? How is it that that can be associated with joy? Dialog, mosaic is, you know, it was going around the world, with their teaching that if you want to be happy, be compassionate. And so how is it what's associated with that? There's many answers to that it's a, you know, or it or psychology is many different facets. But one of them is that how we're being compassionate, that if compassion comes along with a lot of sense of duty and obligation, it can feel quite heavy. If it comes along with a sense of conclusions, like deciding that, oh, this means that life is really frightening and terrible. It can really feel also oppressive, to experience compassion. But if compassion comes along with an awareness, it's open and available, like an open window where the wind can blow through. Nothing stops it, it doesn't, nothing blocks it. It just kind of go just goes right through us almost, we're we're available for this opening. We, we have this availability for as things as they occur, it's part of that joy is in that availability. Because we're not contracting, we're not resisting. We're not coming to conclusions. We're not elaborating with you this means that the world is a terrible place or whatever it might be, an or not kind of immediately caught up and I have to do something I'm responsible. But this the simplicity of compassion, the simplest version of it, to be open, to experience what is and this openness, this ability to be available, is a is a kind of a very important aspect of mindfulness practice. The mindfulness Some people use mindfulness as, as like the end of the end process, a very short few moments of concluding that this is what's happening. Done. I've concluded it's kind of some it's extreme version. It's a checklist approach to mindfulness. People use mental noting. And I used to do that I would, I would note breathing in in just as I began breathing in and if the if the in breath was a little bit long, I would kind of check out I would kind of wonder if draw from my thought for the last three quarters of the inbred because I'd already done my mindfulness practice. And then I would try to be there beginning of the exhale out, you know and, and done it done that and then I would kind of wouldn't be there very present for the outbreath. And I learned that rather than, you know, to do what instead is to be available to be open to experience. So the word in for me if I do is, is an invitation is an opening, like, okay, it's the beginning of a process. Okay, I'm breathing in, that's what's happening. Now let's feel that it registered, let it let it be felt more deeply in the system in the body. And, and exhaling. This is the beginning of really feeling this now, it might be very brief, something might be very fleeting, and that's okay. And one of the things one of the great treasures is as we do this availability being available to what's happening is, is we're also then feeling what it's like to be available, we're feeling what it's like to have the door open, as opposed to having it closed. And that feels good. That has a nice feeling. So we we do that with compassion, we're open, we feel that we see the suffering of the world, we don't come, that's not a time to come to conclusions. This is for compassion sake, this is a time to allow something to begin. And at the minimum, it's a beginning of becoming more fully aware of it. And so this sense of being aware, is the joy, of compassion, at least for me. So the we're doing the, the, the seven factors of compassion today, this week. And so we're back into this mindfulness, how mindfulness is. And as mindfulness is, being mindful of it in a calm, relaxed way, we become aware of how we're not open how we're closed or resisting, or, or we're tight, or we're suffering, in terms of compassion, we become aware of how we're suffering because of the suffering, relay, laying the layers of suffering on top of experiencing the suffering of the world, with our judgments or fears, and taking it personally and all kinds of things. So then we learn to make a distinction between these other layers of suffering. And just being open to the simplicity of the original suffering we're present for. As we make that distinction, we learn how to be mindful in a more relaxed way, in an open way. And we make the effort to do so we make a different kind of effort to be be present for the suffering. We're we're not tightening up and stressing around it. And that leads us to this joy factor, that now we're available, we're open and awareness without stress and awareness without force, and awareness, which is calm, light, open. And in some ways, the lighter and more calm, the awareness can be cleaner. And Fuller, can be the experience of compassion, the experience, or the way of experiencing suffering. And that can be against the grain for some people. Because with when we feel suffering of the world suffering of others, we'd better take it seriously, we better get gear up and do something big. And this is really important. There's some some sufferings are huge. And so it can be very counterintuitive, that the way forward is not to take it too seriously. Or take it so seriously. That it's so important that you can't afford to get tense you can't afford to get stressed out. They it's so important that to let the best qualities of you are come forward and your best ability to think and to act and to do is in fact, to relax and open and be available in like a nice way. So to go back to the example I gave the first day about the girl in the playground, who's injured herself scraped her knee
if the caretaker comes over who cares for her is distraught, is upset is angry. Is feels like that this is a disaster. It's a crisis. And and as yelling for help and seeing which is a serious problem. The poor girl is going to learn all kinds of unhealthy things She's gonna feel frightened, she's gonna feel old baby and things are much worse than I thought. And bad enough I got my knee, my knees scraped now it's, maybe it's a disaster, I wonder where they're going to call 911 in the ambulance for me or, or now now that now the little girl learns that the world is a frightening place to be in that all kinds of secondary things. Because the caretaker got so alarmed and took it so seriously. If the caretaker takes it respectfully with carefully, lovingly, fully, but has a lightness and ease and calm, and even has a sense of, of enjoying, or appreciating or feeling the rightness to him here with a comfortable and being here doing this. This little girl learns something very different about life. She learns that this is available in life, she learns that life is a place where if things are not a crisis, that you meet your experiences and difficulties with a certain level of calm and lightness and ease and love and care. So the ability to find sweet sweetness in compassion is one of the great powers of compassion. It's one of the great capacities compassion has. So the in this week, we're calling it the joy factor of compassion. So, I would like to suggest that if you have occasion today, to encounter suffering, however small or large it might be and you don't have to maybe it's best if you don't have to act quickly and immediately for it. That you have, you know, that doesn't require that of you. See, if you can find a way to register and feel and know that suffering clearly not not denying it, not dismissing its importance. But if you can take a take the time to let it register and be known in you that in the knowing in the being available for it. You actually feel some sweetness, you feel some goodness, it feels some rightness. And then what difference does it make for you? If you experience compassion that way? How do you how do you then maybe respond differently with that? So the joy factor of compassion. So thank you, and I look forward to continuing tomorrow.