Mindfulness and compassion
Change is a natural part of life. New experiences, physical changes, or changes in relationships are all opportunities to grow.
At first, change upsets our feeling of well-being. Then, it becomes more comfortable once we learn to accept it.
But we often do not accept things as they are. We see them with fear, or anxiety, or judgement. This viewpoint can cloud our mind, leaving us out of balance and unable to cope with what is happening in our life.
Accepting things as they are can help us see them clearly enough so that we can deal with them. Genuine acceptance of “what is” involves paying attention on purpose, with kindness. On the one hand, seeing clearly, taking time to really look at a situation and allow ourselves to understand it. And on the other hand, having compassion for our experience of what we perceive, knowing that this experience may be shared by many others. These two skills, paying attention and having compassion, are like two wings of a great bird.
One wing represents the quality of mindfulness, or being with what is in the present moment, without any judgment, pausing to allow ourselves to notice an experience and our reactions to it. The other wing represents compassion, the ability to be kind to our understandable reactions to what we discover in that moment, allowing ourselves to feel the thoughts or emotions that arise in us, even if they are uncomfortable.
It is OK to feel what we feel. Often, we easily have compassion for others, but may not show it so easily to ourselves. But having compassion for ourselves is vital to our physical, emotional, and social health. We need to comfort and reassure ourselves, just like we do for others.
Although experiences from the outside, or even sensations from within, can unsettle us, really noticing these experiences, and noticing how they make us feel, can help keep us steady and balanced.
We need both wings to fly. Without mindfulness, we might miss opportunities for compassion or kindness. Without compassion, we may react in judgment instead of responding flexibly to our experiences and surroundings. These two wings, mindfulness and compassion, can help carry us over and through most of life’s journeys.
（The subtitle is extracted from the video “Two wings to fly” for reading https://youtu.be/cFCiUlFKuO4）