Today I was people watching when I was struck with a big hit of compassion.
I was reminded that we all do the best we can with what we have been taught, have experienced and feel in each moment.
The universe is not without its irony. When we decide we are starting to understand something deeply, we can expect to be tested on just that.
Perhaps a better way of saying that is: when we say we get it, we get opportunities to prove that we get it.
Fast forward 30 minutes: I’m faced with a huge opportunity for compassion. To set the stage for you: I’m serenely writing in a sunny spot by a window, I’m suddenly joined by a pair that is aruging (the details don’t matter).
They sit at my table and are about a foot from me, slamming books and the works.
Naturally, my first thought was annoyance. “Why in the world? Really? Why are they here? Have some respect. What the hell?”
Then I remember my newfound realization on compassion. Bringing my focus back to that I continue to write, albeit having to continually remind myself of what had dawned on me just 30 minutes prior.
Still, the thoughts of annoyance kept flying by in my head.
I reminded myself that I didn’t understand or know a thing about them. That, regardless of my perception of them, they were doing their best at the time—sad as it may have looked to me. And damn, that right there, that hurts my heart. That’s a doorway to compassion in itself.
Then, out of the blue—as quickly as they had arrived—they left.
A bigger realization then landed:
developing compassion (or any other high vibin’ feelings) doesn’t mean that annoyance, irritation and judgment dissapear—oh no, they still show up to the party.
But the growth opportunity—and subsequent alchemy of the moment—is in choosing. Choosing despite these tempting egoic judgements what to invest in. Exercising our free will in deciding what to spend our focus dollars on.
Thoughts are fine. We can have thoughts that wonder “What the Hell” without becoming “What the Hell.”
Because we are not our thoughts. We are the one that chooses what thoughts to buy into. We have freedom—free will, to choose what we identify with.
Despite the continual thoughts flowing by begging for attention, waiting to aggravate, we can—as we practice—direct our focus and energy on the ones we want to align with.
Let me tell you how energizing and uplifting it felt to do so, even minimally, today.
It’s not a matter of eliminating thoughts—it’s cultivating awareness of them so that when opportunities such as these show themselves we can see our options and choose which ones we allow ourselves to identify with.
Discovering our choices so we can spot them in testing moments and begin to form more aware habits and will in our choosing.
“Be mindful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.
Be mindful of your words, for your words become your actions.
Be mindful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be mindful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
Be mindful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”