Compassion is the vessel that holds within it the grief of the world. Compassion is the well from which we draw hope when the very ground beneath us feels like it has been torn away. Feeling the compassion that comes from others in our time of need has the effect of making us remember that there is, in fact, something bigger than our grief. It is not meant to banish our sadness, rather to open a window and give it some breathing room and perspective. The well of compassion helps us release our ownership of our grief when the appropriate time comes.
At first offering our compassion to those who are currently grieving feels like putting a small circlular band aid over a huge gaping wound. But when we offer compassion to those who are grieving, we deepen the well from which others can draw strength. And we deepen our own connection to that well so that wellspring of compassion is available to us when we truly need it.
I learned this lesson through my Yoga practice. It was in a simple shift of perspective. Through breathing and moving mindfully and simultaneously, I grew to see that each movement was supported by my breath. Then I saw the breath as not mine at all, but connected to something much bigger. Then I realized the breath was actually so big that I could not pinpoint a beginning or end at all. I realized that a certain amount of what I consider to be “work” can actually be transferred to the breath. In the breath we all have a companion and friend. In the breath we find perspective.