Article Summary by Michael Estlack, Director of Connectivity
How can the act of simply paying attention to our surroundings encourage us to become more compassionate and concerned for others?
As we face this question, we turn to Sylvia Boorstein, prominent psychotherapist and known follower of Buddhist teachings who is a big proponent of practicing mindfulness. Being mindful, or paying attention to the world around us can give great perspective on the human condition that we all face. It’s the fact that we all face it together that binds us. However, we often go out into this world completely oblivious to the struggles of others. Boorstein argues that it is the state of a truly awakened mind when we can notice and empathize with what we see happening in lives of others. When we take this time to see others, to truly see them, we quickly learn that we all experience anguish and suffering. It’s in this learning that we find compassion and concern for our fellows. All we needed was time to step back, pay attention and relate to those around us rather then fall into comparison.
Boorstein goes on to talk about her meditation rituals and how she utilizes that time to simply ground herself and slow an overstimulated mind, but that if she really wants to feel connected, she only need to look at the suffering happening all around her.
So how do we implement this newly found compassion and wisdom in the real world?
Take for instance the political space we find ourselves in. Boorstein not only acknowledges the distress one might feel from such an environment, but she also advises that we pay close attention to these feelings as they come up. When we experience negative emotions, we often get very tunnel visioned and as Boorstein puts it, a small growl can quickly become a very loud bark. If we instead catch ourselves at the jumping off point, we can more appropriately react to negative emotions rather then letting them consume us. Sometimes this practice of mindfulness requires us to pay close attention to our own thinking so that we can then react sanely and compassionately to people we engage with daily who might not share our own way of thinking.
Being mindful also allows for us to take into account the experiences others may have that attribute to their ideas and beliefs. These differing of views can cause disconnection amongst our peers, but when we can see the person as an accumulation of their unique experiences, much like we are, we can once again reconnect to them and find that place of compassion.
Let our team of experts at SHAW Center for Healing help you on your journey to an awakened mind as you find your wisdom and compassion in this world!
To learn more, visit: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/what-do-when-your-mind-starts-growl
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