In our entrepreneurial community, we’ve been talking a fair amount about how to be compassionate, kind and connected in difficult times & around difficult topics.
And if you haven’t noticed, we are in some pretty difficult times :)
It seems that many people think the solution is to be more “mindful”.
And while that sounds nice - it really isn't the answer.
What’s going to save us is being more Kindful.
Kindness writ large, without buckets or *boundaries, without distinctions or difference - without fingers pointed or arms extended in any position outside of a heroic hug. (even from an internet arms *length* away)
It’s not always easy.
And I certainly don’t have all the answers. There are *infinite opportunities to be outraged.
Lots of folks who deserve our disdain. Lots of people who history will judge badly.
But when I focus on these people and the *tsunami* of suffering and the *fire hose* of problems they’re poor choices have foisted on us all, I’m* worse for the wear.
I’m not sanitizing what matters most. My mental health. My sanity. And my safety, from the machinations of a monkey mind eager to demonize and catastrophize, always willing to find another banana to chew and spew...... suffers as well.
The practice of METTA - loving kindness that extends without borders or boundaries is what always saves me.
It is the one thing that captures what I believe to be the core truth about life. We always get to choose.
And that loving ones neighbors, one’s adversaries and even ones enemies as oneself, this is the sort of mindfulness that actually improves my moment to moment experience of what it feels like to be me in good times, and in times of confusion and crisis as well.
Try it. Bring to mind a difficult person, maybe even someone in the news right now.
Now picture them on the best day of their life.
Or in their very best moment, during that one *excellent*, really generous, really giving day.
See them smile.
See them radiate kindness, calmness and innocence, even for a moment.
If that doesn’t work?
Try it for the first day of their life.
Or on the last day of their life.
Seen through the tabula rasa that birth and death can both bring, I find my anger and outrage evaporate.
Only the shared humanity, and the great mystery of our experience remains
And for myself, the same rings true.
If you are like me, and reserve the harshest judgements for yourself, the same practice applies.
When self judgement and the inner critic arises and appears, I bring to mind a picture of myself from 3 or 4, with a smile so pure, loving, generous, kind and innocent that it doesn’t even feel like me.
Or, I see my future self, hopefully a long time from these hazy, crazy and dubious* days drawing my final breaths. I reach out and embrace that younger self - or that future self - and tell him that I’m always here.
I got you. You're good. And it’s going to be okay.
Only love and compassion - this time for me - often the hardest of all to love, remains.
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - Dali Lama
Hope you are well.
photo credit: Matt Collamer