“Compassion is infinite…”
This reminder is very wise… so how silly is it of me that I would ever think “other-wise”?
I notice that if I become attached to my own agenda (how the mind thinks things should go and people should act) it is easy to divide the world into “good/bad”. The people on my good list receive my good wishes, my adoration, my respect, and my blessings. If I’m not aware of limited thought patterns, I might stop here, in a place of division and rationed out compassion. But if “magic is a shift in perception” as Sharon reminds us, part of that means shifting the way I view others: The people who I don’t know, who I don’t enjoy, or who I don’t understand. I often find this easier said than done. Simply wanting to shift perception may be difficult, but by consistently practicing “Blessing the Way” that shift begins to take hold without me even realizing it- As if it happened by magic! Funny how that works.
Personally, I practice these moments of sharing the joy with others by setting a timer at home in the morning. I simply send a good thought out to as many people I can think of in that time. When I am out during the day, I also like to use my mala beads. As Sharon teaches in this chapter, I go one round and for each bead, I bless someone. So sitting on the subway I offer a bead to the people I see right in front me …undercover blessings! And since MTA tends to keep us around longer than planned on a regular basis, I get to send many blessings during my ride. And this also helps me reshape my mind around that moment. I’m not stuck on the train. I’m being given more time to share joy. I’m being blessed with more space to send blessings to even more people. And then I’m uplifted, as the chaos of the world becomes more supportive of my spiritual practice.
Yoga teaches us to see the divine spark in everyone, all beings, and all moments. One way to do that is to expand compassion by offering blessings in an inclusive, consistent way. We start to see each person/animal who we send a good wish to as a holy being, as worthy of respect. And we start to find more and more time opening to us – to send this happiness back to a world that needs it.
As Sharon says so eloquently, “Compassion is infinite; you won’t run out, so don’t be stingy with your blessings. Give your blessings to everyone–to people you don’t like as well as the ones you do like. Blessing the ones you love and seeing them as holy beings ensures that they will remain holy, blessed beings in your life.”
1. Think of a time of day to offer blessings. This is a mental practice and can be done anywhere. Perhaps in the morning, perhaps again out on a morning commute or during a lunch break or even right before a yoga class.
2. Think about how to expand this practice to non- humans as well as human beings. Perhaps select 5 animals each day who are exploited for food and clothing industries and send them the blessings they so desperately need. Can I simply notice the wild animals in a park or forest, giving them a moment of my mental attention as I offer blessings.
3. Listen to what people need. Does my friend need a well-wish for a job interview? Perhaps a relative could use blessings before a medical test. Perhaps someone is starting a new project and they can benefit from an extra blessing. Compassion is infinite!