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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Feeling Significant?

Recently a friend asked me,"Do you feel significant?" I was surprised by her question and she was equally surprised by my answer. "Of course I feel significant, I only feel sad when other people do not accept that my love for them is real," I said.  In this moment I realized just how blessed I am as a human being to feel good about who I am in spite of the things I consider less than appealing about myself. What a blessing it is I treat myself with compassion. While I feel significant, I don't feel any more significant than the next person. All of us have our gifts, our talents, our weaknesses, our light, and our dark. All of us make this world interesting. All of us are other people's teachers. All of us are in this together, or at least we should be.

After I was asked this question, I came across this quote by the Dalai Lama and it struck me as the truth and as the possible solution to this "lack of feeling significant" issue.
"Recently I met a group of scientists in America who said that the rate of mental illness in their country was quite high-around twelve percent of the population. It became clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not a lack of material necessities but a deprivation of the affection of the others."

I try diligently to express my love for all beings, even strangers, as often as possible and it's not always easy. Over time I have learned that many people reject my kindness/love because they are suspicious, as I MUST want something in return, or I can't possibly have compassion for everyone. I have also had people turn on me after I have made a perceived mistake (often never really knowing what that mistake was), leaving me devastated, not understanding why they would not accept my kindness/love/compassion as true. My spiritual teacher once told me that people who do not love themselves and who are not kind to themselves can not possibly see this virtue in others. As "they" say, it's rarely ever about you, it is about that person and where they are on their own personal journey.

Then I found this quote that helped me understand why people so easily reject or mistrust those who are kind and who are open to love and compassion:

“It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.” ~Author Unknown

Compassion is the desire to help ease other living beings suffering. Compassion for all beings can be developed, but first, it must be embraced from within. For many who have not been shown compassion or who do not believe it exists, this is truly a task to take on.

I leave on Sunday for Northern India for two weeks. The last time I went to India, I felt inspired to create a space to help people heal and that space was a yoga studio. On this next journey, I am not certain what ideas I may walk away with, but this land is the perfect opportunity for me to feed myself so that I may come back practicing even more compassion in my community.

Here is a link to the blog I wrote after my last trip.

Until I Return,

May all sentient beings have equanimity, free from attachment, aggression and prejudice.
May they be happy, and have the causes for happiness.
May they be free from suffering and causes for suffering.
May they never be separated from the happiness that is free from suffering.