Reader comment on Michael Singer's passage ...

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    On Aug 6, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

    I liked this thought very much. While it is a powerful guide to meditation, there is something important that precedes it - compassion. If I get angry at myself for falling asleep while meditating, then I might give up as someone not fit for it, and lose the opportunity to develop a good understanding of how my mind works. Therefore, compassion precedes understanding. However, when I understand that my mind is not me, and that it will do its own thing, my compassion for myself (and others) increases exponentially. Compassion is somewhat like solar energy - we need a significant initial investment, after which it more than pays for itself.

    I had an opportunity this week to "push the compassion button." A friend had come down after a long time and we weren't really connecting. I found the friend distracted and not interested in my responses to his questions. After a while, I noticed my mind starting to get annoyed, and that was a good time to push the compassion button. My friend kept talking as I beamed joy and kindness. And suddenly, the understanding was right there, like the veil had just dropped from my eyes. My friend had the worst conversation of the year with his boss, and it didn't go the way he'd hoped. I could feel the pain he was feeling and that doubled my compassion, and made me determined to create more space. Instead of talking, I listened, and only replied when he asked questions. The result was downright crazy - he resolved all of his problems in his own mind, and came down to a single question - he was working two jobs, one of which he really liked, but that was the one he was doing for free. The people in this place loved him, but didn't have the budget to hire him.

    I don't know why, but I found myself saying the following, "You are like the flower - it has fragrance to give, whether or not there is someone to smell. Well, then, why don't you offer your services as a gift to the place you like, regardless of whether they pay you. And tell them that they are not obligated to you. You can work a couple more months like this, and if nothing changes on their part, you will simply move on, but until then, you will do what you love."

    He loved the idea and decided then and there to follow this path. At my end, I found it fascinating that the conversation had begun with me thinking something was wrong with him, and by the end of it, I was clear that the issues were in my mind and I wasn't creating enough space. The "compassion button" is a powerful tool that helps facilitate the observations that Singer talks about.


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