Cultivating Compassion in Difficult Times

Contributor: Ashley Neese
Photographer: Lani Trock
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Many people feel frustrated that there is nothing they can do to help those who are in pain right now. There is something you can do. You can commit to practicing compassion and keep all who are grieving in your prayers.

It’s normal to experience intense emotions during a time like this, anger, fear, grief, and sadness. Feeling any number of these emotions is a sign your heart is already open and a teaching in staying open through the loss we’re all feeling today.

From an energy perspective you have two choices, allow this terrible tragedy to shut you off or use it as a practice in staying open. When you shut down your vibration is lowered and it’s very challenging to access love, compassion, and wisdom. By staying open your vibration is raised and you tap into creativity, empathy, and intuition. In times like these everyone needs was much empathy, love and wisdom as possible. If you have the willingness to offer it you are doing a huge part to support the world.

When you practice compassion for yourself you are practicing compassion for everyone. You can have the biggest and most immediate healing impact on yourself and in your relationships. Let this tragedy serve to awaken you and open your heart to new depths.

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Mindful practices for cultivating compassion:

1. Allow yourself to grieve. It’s brave to honor the pain you feel and it brings you close to your own vulnerability. Cry if you need to and let the emotions move through your body without censoring them.

2. Make your body an offering. Come into child’s pose and rest your forehead to the earth. Release your hips and soften your entire body. This pose is about connecting to your true source, Mother earth, and is a gesture of offering to your deepest wisdom. Focus on your intuitive center (third eye) and give thanks for all of your teachers. Send gratitude to the painful lessons you have learned because they have shaped your courageous heart. Soften. Breathe. Release. Rest.

3. Meditate on what you are feeling. Sit in a comfortable position, in a quiet space and focus your breath in your heart. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose to ground your nervous system and begin to soothe your heart. Place one hand on your heart and repeat the mantra as many times as you like, I am here for you. I am here for you. I am here for you.

5. Sit in meditation and direct compassion and love towards the people of Brussels. Breathe in light and love and breathe out this prayer, may you be free from suffering, may you feel safe, may you be loved. Repeat this for several minutes and close with your hands in prayer in front of your heart.

6. Squash the negative self-talk. When you catch yourself in a limiting belief or negative thought loop, pause, take a breath and repeat this mantra, darling I love you. Darling I love you. Darling I love you. Repeat this practice as often as necessary.