For someone who moves very quickly through things, the effect and lessons of the Anusara Grand Circle have been sticking around like dandelions in the yard of my head. (Don't tell anyone, but I love dandelions.) Someone gave me a description of ahimsa as an unwillingness to do harm to yourself or others. Ooh, I've been thinking about this non-stop. Unwillingness to do harm to myself. This ties in to the idea of the spiritual circle (read a few blogs back for that thought) and what you will allow in to the spaces closest to your heart. I recently drew a "goals" circle on paper. Guess what? More suffering was not in the circle. I am unwilling to allow things that harm me into my circle.
Taking that a step further has brought me to thinking of compassion with the same intent. If compassion is the act of relieving suffering, then to practice on myself, I must refuse to allow suffering within my self. Just as I won't let harmful things into my circle, I am unwilling to allow suffering in. John Friend has often said to us that pain is a fact, but suffering is optional. Read it again. Pain is a fact, but suffering is optional. You know? I didn't know that. I thought they were the same thing. and they're not. If something's optional, I have a choice. I can practice my new favorite virtue: taking responsibility. Here's where the theory gets powerful in practice. If there is suffering in the inner sanctum of my heart, then I have allowed it to be there. Me. No one else. Uh-oh. What have I done? Yet, I can do something about it.
On a daily basis, we forget that our hearts are not suffering. Our hearts are free and joyful. Un-suffering. I have recently committed to living in service. Mostly, I practice that by serving my family and community. Recently, Scott Marmorstein (incredibly gifted energy worker and author) said "Set your self straight first, and watch whatever happens to the world with love and compassion." I choose to set myself straight with compassion.
If there's one thing I've learned from helping others, is that you have to be strong to relieve pain. To be strong enough to hold a space of healing and growth. This is not for the feint of heart. If, as Scott recommends, you start with yourself, then getting stronger my starting point. Gurumayi once said that it takes great strength to have a soft heart. If I'm uncommitted or forgetful of my un-suffering heart, then I encircle that light in darkness. I can't allow that. If I live in compassionate remembrance of the light of love within, then I must also commit to revealing that light through my choices and actions. that takes diligent commitment that I must uphold.
I invite you to make a compassionate commitment to your un-suffering heart. Build strength. Stay in remembrance, and be unwavering in your commitment to compassion in action. Live in service of your own heart. Start with you and then watch what happens to the world around you.