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"Practical, Action-Oriented Contentment and Compassion" by Leo Babauta - SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

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Give Me Strife and Suffering (but in manageable doses)

"Life is suffering," said Buddha. His plan? Release your attachments to this world and end your suffering.

I'm not with Buddha on this one. Give me strife and suffering. And once I have grown stronger, tempered, hardened by the strife, give me MORE.

Life is strife, suffering, struggle. Your body and mind are kept alive by a series of violent chemical reactions, your heartbeat, the acid in your stomach, the cells constantly breaking apart and dying as new ones are created, the battle towards homeostatis with different bacteria and cells combating each other, all inside your body.

Your mind - your thoughts - may come into conflict, especially when you're trying to do meaningful things. It's easy to feel the pull of distraction and ease, and to choke up and pause in fear when you look at the mountain you're set to climb. The mind is not in harmony, especially at the beginning. Struggle, strife, conflict, suffering.

I say - give it to me! But not so fast that it will break me. I must be pragmatic. We must be pragmatic. We have our limits. We can expand them over time. It's not brave to go into the gym for the first time and try to lift 400 pounds. It's foolhardy, unrealistic, stupid. Being pragmatic, aware of our limits takes its own sort of courage.

Who really deserves compassion anyway?

On The blog: Sit. Breathe. Love.

Last week at my meditation class we were talking about compassion; how we experience it, how we can work on feeling more of it, and the kind of people we're able to generate compassion for.

So first off: what is compassion? It's described as a feeling of empathy for others; it's the emotion we feel in response to another's suffering that motivates a desire to help.

It's quite easy for me to feel compassion for people I think really deserve it; starving children in Africa, people suffering the trauma of a natural disaster, people grieving the loss of a loved one. I want to help those people, so I can feel compassion for them. But how about people we don't really, in our heart of hearts, actually genuinely believe even deserve our compassion?

This made for some uncomfortable thinking. And some pretty raw up-close-and-personal time with my own prejudices.

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