Friday, May 13, 2011

Compassionate huh?

Do you consider yourself a compassionate person? It is something that is talked about a LOT here. Both having compassion for each other while we are here and more importantly having compassion for our students in the classroom.

Certainly if anyone had asked me if I was I would have unequivocally said yes, truly believing I was. However over the past few days, I have realised that my so-called "compassion" is not given freely to everyone in the same manner. (I told you having too much time on your hands to muse over things may or may not be a good thing? lol)

Sure, I have compassion for babies, kittens, anything small and helpless. Hey, I cried for days afer having to take "Little Holly" back, the dog I fostered from the animal shelter for 6 weeks at Christmas. But when it comes to adults I realise that my "compassion" is given in measured quantities according to my own set of rules.

Now while I find it easy to help someone who is genuinely needing it, when you can see their soul is hurting and they are really trying, its the times when someone is incompetent and not putting an effort in (according to MY standards) that I struggle to find the patience to be compassionate. (V.P. I can see you smiling from here, because I know you know EXACTLY what I am like and what I am talking about :-)

I could give you numerous accounts of this exact situation as it happens here on a daily basis. Sh*t sometimes minute by minute. And to date I have let it infuriate me! My immediate reaction is that we've all paid a lot of money to be here and so if you're not going to take it seriously and put the effort in then stop wasting our bleeping time and bleeping go home. You get the picture, right?

However! I have spent the past few days thinking about my reaction to these situations and wondering what sort of teacher I am going to be if I only have compassion and patience for those students in the class who are practicing the way I (thats a BIG CAPITAL "I") think they should according to the rules and discipline I like in my own practice. Hence automatically making assumptions about what someone is capable of without knowing anything about what is happening in their lives.

Which is EXACTLY what we have been told by numerous teachers here NOT to do. They have all said that we have to let our students take their own journey, that we cannot assume anything about what they are capable of in their practice. I've even written those exact words in a previous post and yet its only in the past few days that it actually resonated with me. And since I have been focusing on this, there have been more and more signs and reminders popping up everywhere. Like they say, when the student is ready the teacher will come.

I think what has also helped it hit home too, is that I am currently excused from doing yoga for the week. From the outside I look like I am fine and that there is nothing wrong with me. Peops probably see me sunning by the pool, relaxed when they come out of class hot, sweaty and exhausted and wonder why the hell I get to get out of classes? Yet inside, there is obviously a physical stress I need to recover from and an emotional turmoil that I'm trying to deal with. None of which you could tell by just looking at me.

One of the visiting teachers last night read out a letter from a Studio Owner saying this exact thing. How we simply don't know what is going on in people's lives and what they may be struggling with and or had to overcome to get into the hot room that day and onto their mat. That we should respect each and every one of them for getting there and how they practice is none of our business (with the obvious exception of making sure they are practicing safely etc).

Then yesterday I got the following email from "Daily OM" a spiritual message centre I subscribe to. It really struck a cord with me and I hope that through my newfound awareness I can start to change and not make judgements about how I feel people should be performing. I'll let you know how I go! :-)

Conscious Evolution

Being Aware is the First Step. Awareness is the first step to creating change in any situation, without it, there would be no desire for change.

Life is a journey comprised of many steps on our personal path that takes us down a winding road of constant evolution. And each day, we are provided with a myriad of opportunities that can allow us to transform into our next best selves.

One moment we are presented with an opportunity to react differently when yet another someone in our life rubs us the wrong way; on another day we may find ourselves wanting to walk away from a particular circumstance but are not sure if we can. Eventually, we may find ourselves stuck in a rut that we can never seem to get out of. We may even make the same choices over and over again because we don’t know how to choose otherwise. Rather than moving us forward, our personal paths may take us in a seemingly never-ending circle where our actions and choices lead us nowhere but to where we’ve already been.

It is during these moments that awareness can be the first step to change.
Awareness is when we are able to realize what we are doing. We observe ourselves, noticing our reactions, actions, and choices as if we were a detached viewer.

Awareness is the first step to change because we can’t make a change unless we are aware that one needs to be made in the first place. We can then begin understanding why we are doing what we are doing. Afterward, it becomes difficult not to change because we are no longer asleep to the truth behind our behaviors. We also begin to realize that, just as much as we are the root source behind the causes for our behaviors, we are also the originator for any changes that we want to happen.

There is a freedom that comes with awareness. Rather than thinking that we are stuck in a repetitive cycle where there is no escape, we begin to see that we very much play a hand in creating our lives. Whether we are aware of them or not, our behaviors and choices are always ours to make. Our past and our present no longer have to dictate our future when we choose to be aware. We are then free to move beyond our old limits, make new choices, and take new actions. With awareness, our paths can’t help but wind us forward in our lives while paving the way for new experiences and new ways of being. It is through awareness that we can continue to consciously evolve.


  1. I haven't had time to read in several days... what a punch in the gut... glad to hear you are well and this was a great post... it resonates very strongly with me at present. Holding a good thought for you!! Peace.

  2. Hey Mark, thanks for taking the time to read and still follow. Yes a total twist of events for me here and I'm trying not to label it as good or bad and just accept that it has all happened for a reason - which is still unclear to me - and just get on with things. Easier said than done at time tho :-) Appreciate your thoughts.