A few weeks back, I took a one-day Masterclass on compassion at the Oxford Mindfulness Center with Christina Feldman, meditation teacher and co-founder of Gaia House in England and Willem Kukyen, clinical psychologist, Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Center.
I have been curious about compassion, the term often used for humanitarian work and Buddhist philosophy. It seems to be this magical concept at the core of our loving behaviors towards others that we don’t necessary know, which can have the capacity to transform hearts and the word. In my own mindfulness practice, I felt I am now seeing things with more clarity, but not necessarily with a lot of kindness. And I have long known the concept of self-compassion, but finding it a not always the most immediate response I would give.
We combined the view of compassion from a contemplative and spiritual tradition, with the psychological theory, before learning how to cultivate compassion.
The famous simile of the two darts is useful to illustrate this – upon being hit by the first dart, the untrained mind may resist, worry, grieve, lament, and add a mental suffering on top of the physical pain. Refusing the removal of the dart until clear where it came from, and knowing all other details. This only add another layer of pain to compound the initial experience of suffering. But this extra layer of pain is optional.
More on compassion to come!