Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of: April 15, 2002


Developing Compassion

Among the fruits of a life well-lived are love and compassion. Can we develop compassion intentionally? In truth, compassion evolves as a result of all our efforts on the path. The deeper we go into our own being, the closer we come to the Great Heart of the World, and the deeper our connection with others.

But we can also work at the level of our ordinary experience to be in contact with the natural compassion in our hearts. Whenever you hear of the illness, death, loss of a job, or other misfortune among your circle of family and acquaintances, or even among strangers you come into contact with, allow yourself to feel that personís misfortune. Feel how it must be to be that person. Just for a moment, put yourself in their shoes. We do not intend this practice as a response to the continuous stream of tragedies, large and small, reported in the news media. That could easily overwhelm us. We mean this for the misfortunes we encounter during our normal daily contacts with the people we see

If so moved, and if appropriate outward action lies within your power and means, then you might take that action in response. An inner approach involves saying a prayer for and sending our heartfelt inner light to the suffering person.

The practice of compassion lifts us out of our egoism and works against indifference, isolation and fear. To complement this active approach to developing compassion, we also work to simply see our lack of it, to see our indifference, to see the fear that intrudes onto our perceptions of othersí distress. Seeing our lack of compassion prepares a place in us for compassion to arise.

For this week, practice compassion.

 


     

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