Grief, Gratitude, Compassion
"The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible."
~ Francis Ward Weller
There has been a lot of grief and sadness in the world these past couple of years, and a great need for compassion. It's hard to be present with it all. But we can be present with the breath, and we can use the space between the breaths as a moment to reflect. Take a gentle inhale (through your nose) and then a gentle exhale (through your nose), then pause. Don't hold the breath, but be still in the rest between the breaths. And when the breath returns, use that moment as one to feel gratitude for your breath. Inhale, exhale, pause and be present, inhale with gratitude. After a while you can go beyond that, and begin to work towards stretching yourself wide and being present with the grief in yourself. Gratitude, grief, gratitude, grief, gratitude, grief. Building up our gratitude practice and our grief practice will help us to be present with the suffering of others, and our compassion.
Let's all try this and see if we can change the world by changing ourselves.
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You can find some short thoughts here, some personal moments, and other nuggets. I hope you'll join me on The Journey.