Waking Basic: Compassion as Medicine

Offering compassion to those who have harmed or disappointed you does not mean being a victim. The difference is not needing to exact revenge or prove one’s superiority. With mercy in your heart you will find yourself much less distracted and disheartened by the behaviors that you see and read about. You will be able to send the offenders love and not become obsessed with anger, hatred, or the desire for revenge, thus focusing on what you are for, rather than what you are against.”
— Dr. Wayne Dyer

Compassion is medicine for all that ails us. Add a layer of compassion to a problem and healing can begin. In Buddhist practice, while love is the wish or someone to be happy, compassion is the wish for someone to be free from suffering.

We all suffer to some degree or another. In this individualistic society, so much of our time is solely focused our own suffering - what is good for us; what we need; who has been good to us; who has been bad to us; why we are feeling bad; what would make us feel better; what makes us feel worse; what happened to us; why it happened to us; wondering why is always happened to us. This habit can be gripping and, not to mention, exhausting.

Practicing compassion is a one-way ticket out of these stuck and limiting mindsets.  Wishing others to be free from suffering creates another avenue for our thoughts; one that can be beneficial to those suffering and ourselves – physically and mentally.

Having compassion for others actually gives us a break from our all consuming and often unhealthy thoughts. Sending out thoughts of well wishes breaks our sometimes well-established negative patterns and provides relief. Try it.

Additionally, wishing thoughts of freedom from sufferings to friend or foe also retrains the brain. Absent compassion there can be animosity, cruelty, jealousy and hatred. If we don’t pay attention these characteristic can become our default. A repetitive practice of compassion will start to reprogram our automatic response or default actions to acts of kindness, love and wisdom.

Compassion for ourselves is a component of self-love. Often we are our own villain; treating ourselves in cruel ways we would never even think of treating others. Villainous thoughts can wreck havoc in our minds but also manifest in our bodies in the form of stress, body aches and abdominal pain.  Quieting the clutter in our mind to offer ourselves compassion may seem foreign. Yet a practice in self-compassion can provide a welcome retreat from the internal sufferings we have self-inflicted. This retreat can gives our bodies and minds a well needed chance to mend. 

Compassion is medicine as it breaks the negative cycles in our minds, provides needed relief both physically and mentally and creates thoughts of kindness, generosity and love.  It doesn’t cost anything yet has astonishing healing qualities.  Wish someone well today!