ONCE OUR HEARTS are steady enough to be open to empathic connection with others – this may take time – we can cultivate genuine compassion for others. We do so, as we did with ourselves, by connecting with the PULSE of humanity beating within them.
P – Paying attention. Cultivate a nonjudgmental, nonreactive awareness of what the person is doing and how he or she is doing it.
U – Understanding empathically. Listen for and be moved by the suffering hidden within the cry of his or her emotions or behavior – the fear, longing, or aching wound in need of care.
L – Loving with connection. As the suffering within the other person moves you, extend care toward the need or wound that surfaces.
S – Sensing the sacredness. Recognize and savor the expanse of compassion that holds and heals every wound within him or her.
E – Embodying new life. Notice the gifts and qualities of restored humanity that are being birthed within the person and yearn for his or her flourishing. …
No matter how distorted and beaten down we may become, an abiding capacity for care and connection remains alive within us. …The people we commonly engage with are like ourselves – momentarily mired in the compulsions, fears, and sensitivities we acquire over a lifetime. Nevertheless, as long as our hearts are beating, the pulse of our humanity lives. Connecting with this pulse within others unlocks our genuine compassion, and such compassion has the power to soften even the most hardened of hearts.
– Frank Rogers Jr.
From pages 30-31 of Practicing Compassion by Frank Rogers Jr. Copyright © 2015 by Frank Rogers Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Fresh Air Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Where are there opportunities to offer compassion to others? Share your thoughts.
Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.
Exodus 34:29, NRSV
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This week we remember: Aelred of Rievaulx (February 3).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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