Sunday, May 7, 2017

Compassion, As Taught to Me in Dreams

Compassion, what does it feel like to you?

To me, it's not pity or "feeling sorry for", because that's like looking over the railing at someone's demise, sad for them, glad it's not me.  Compassion acts and takes risks on behalf of the other person; compassion finds some life line to throw.

We're more compassionate of others when we know ourselves well enough to need compassion from our own harsh self-judgements.

Jesus, with his usual astuteness, put it this way; don't judge the mote in someone's eye until you remove  the plank in your own.  It's easy to see the bits of personal rubbish in others; rare, it seems, for folks to see their own garbage.

It's much harder to be judgmental of others if you're aware and responsible for your own shadow. The more compassionate we are in the face of our shadows, the better we see others with compassion.  

Finding compassion in ourselves involves hatching out of the hard shell that is Ego and living in the physical, but connected to spirit.   Once I became aware, through dreaming, that my physical body and dreaming body are separate aspects of the consciousness I call me, I opened the magic doors to living in two realms, in one lifetime.  Dreams matter as much as things that happen during waking matters; it's me in both places.

Dreams are the most compassionate teachers I've known.  I like to use the phrase, they've scared the pajamas off me, but even my greatest nightmares have turned into my sturdiest allies.  Dreams will shock you out of complacency, but when you have the courage to pay attention to dreams, despite hearing growing up, it's "just" a dream, you find your wisest and most trustworthy life teachers.

Who can afford to be compassionate?  The wise person who's found she or he has nothing to lose by loving.  The person who knows, this solid ground is only one side of the story. How do we know? Dream explorers are leading the way, as are the growing community of near death experiencers, between them, our age-old questions about death and the after life are being openly and compassionately addressed.

We're living in a time of great spiritual advances in inner exploration and we're also living in a time of great physical crisis.  Feels like some kind of divine irony.

Life is joy; without joy, we're dead inside.  There are many paths to joy through dreaming that can ease our suffering and give us the courage to ease the suffering around us.

The mindfulness movement is an exciting spiritual movement, as well; it's Buddhist thought harmonized with the best of current psychotherapies.  We're moving away from the sin driven, punishment/reward paradigms we've endured for centuries towards greater awareness of the complexity of spirit or consciousness.  Despite the external atmosphere of hate, separatism, violence. religiosity and fear, growing numbers of us are keying in to love and compassion as the engines of action.

Following dreams helps us see that all is not always what it seems.  This is one reason I call dreaming "organic" spirituality; we're born plugged in.  We may have unplugged that connection based on believing things we were told or on the lack of guidance available to help us navigate those sometimes choppy waters.  Helping children with nightmare fears can be an opportunity to show them how to address their fears creatively.

Independent spirituality through dreaming isn't something religious enterprises endorse because it could cost them memberships; memberships pay for their existence, often in the luxury to which they've become accustomed. The scientific establishment, for its part, has confined itself to materiality,  with the wonderful exception of Physics. Yet, more and more, people are finding themselves pondering the possibilities of new spiritual paradigms for themselves.  I thank Oprah for sparking pioneering spiritual thinking in mainstream culture.

The time is ripe for all of us to turn inward; drop-in, tune-in and pay attention.  There's a great deal to be gained.  One of those things is greater compassion for ourselves, others and the pickle we're collectively in on this earth dimension.


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