Thursday, April 16, 2009


. The force of compassion is one of the strongest in the universe. It heals us, it connects us, it makes us truly human. The transformative power of compassion is widely underestimated.
. There is a difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy is a natural capacity, with which we are (hopefully) born. It is a cousin of sympathy - you send a sympathy card to show that your own feelings are in sympathy with someone else's. Empathy means you can feel what another person is feeling. True compassion is more than just a natural quality, it is a human capacity. In compassion you can deeply understand another's experience, but with complete awareness. You not only resonate with someone, you really get it. You hear them as if there was nothing else to listen to; you are so totally present you can give the person 100% of your focus and attention. And you can do it without coming up short yourself.
. What happens when you see or hear a person this deeply? How does the inner person react to this kind of meeting? It feels damn good. You feel accepted, heard, seen, valued even. And what's more, you want to be that person they're seeing.
. I called a friend after a nasty fight with a significant other. "Oh my god! That sucks!" she yelled into the phone. "For Pete's sake!" I felt better, immediately. There is nothing better than a good friend! And then she went on: "I don't know, what do you think, John?" and in her tone I could feel that she didn't want me to do anything; like dump this maniac for instance, but was simply concerned. I could feel her pure, disinterested concern. And that's when I felt myself starting to wake up. I began to actually grasp the feelings I was experiencing and to see what they were trying to tell me about my situation. I could sense my own inner self emerging just a bit more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Friend in Disguise

Ever wonder why you continue in a difficult relationship? Honoring a committment, or just low self-esteem? Or sometimes you're stuck there, in a work or school situation. Ever imagine how nice your life would be without that person in it?
How do we know that person isn't there to teach us something really important? In fact, they are here, irritating the hell out of us, in order to draw out qualities and strengths in us for which it would almost seem we have contracted with them. They are clearly the perfect irritant, the ideal button-pusher for this particular set of tender wounds. If you look at a person in that light, you look beyond the annoyance, above appearances. It may well be that the debt is on their side, and this is how they are "repaying" you, as a way of helping you.
What happens when you use this kind of sight? Just soften your eyes, focus on that which is beyond the outer person, and which means you well. (this may not be easy, but keep looking for it, listening, smelling for it) You may see that as a result of your seeing, not only you change, but they begin to change, too. You may start to glimpse a friend in disguise. -JR

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why are kids grouchy?

A little boy in 2nd grade came in because he was refusing to go to school without his mother, throwing temper tantrums and generally exhibiting Resistance to Everything. In the process, he showed us some very old grief-like heaviness in his lungs and chest area. The question we asked was: is there a healthier way to work through this material than by carrying this undigested emotion/stress around, blocking all other progress? The answer was "Sure, I'll take this one over myself". Within two weeks the parents reported a 180 degree turn around, with an age-normal level of emotionality and an ability to function peacefully within the household.
The process: the child's inner humanity was given the support it needed to confront a mass of unprocessed feelings with which there was previously no functional connection. The human capacity for order and health was then able to complete a process for which the resouces had not previously been present. -JR