MSC for Creating Wise Compassion
Session Details - May 1st, 2017. We started with the river mindfulness meditation, followed by a compassion with equanimity practice. The discussion centred around how we find balance in amongst our tough times, like the wings of this bird - finding our way to a balance of wisdom and compassion.
‘If you don’t get what you want, you suffer. If you get what you don’t want, you suffer. Even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality’. - Socrates
In MSC we open to this reality of the full experience of being human, as Socrates explains, the joys – the sorrows, the ease and the struggles. The only certainty is actually uncertainty, wow – one certainty… now take a breath… This is actually good news, because this understanding can give rise to our motivation to keep deepening and widening our MSC practice, because with it we can learn to surf!!! ‘You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf’. - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Anyone who has tried to learn to surf knows that it is all about paying attention, not giving up, and most importantly – finding balance amongst the waves. You can enjoy the learning along the way, but most of all you enjoy surfing. Equanimity is a way to manage the ebbs and flows of life. Mindfulness allows us to understand this being human; with the warmth and connection that compassion brings this understanding can be how we learn to surf.
MSC brings with it the balance of allowing, openness, the balm of knowing we are all in this together and the wisdom of learning the power of kindness. Inhabiting our lives we understand that in any given moment our mind, body and heart all have needs and limits – others are not responsible for knowing these – we are.
Balance is a moving target, just like the ocean’s swell – hence why MSC is not a part time practice, it needs to be woven into the fabric of our lives. Letting go of the sense of right or wrong, we can look at MSC on more of a spectrum. Mindfulness – a warm open awareness is the key to noticing where we are at any given time on this spectrum, we need to know where we are to find our way back to balance.
Creating Balance – tips for learning to surf:
• Play, beginner’s mind and practice kindness
• Pema Chödrön often invites people to feel into being the landscape not the weather, as a way to pause and come to balance.
• Connecting with your compassionate inner voice, this voice can act as a guide to assist to come back to balance.
• Coming to our sense of hearing, feeling the openness of the soundscape all around, the vast and edgeless space, where sounds simply arise and pass through your awareness, this can assist with cultivating a sense of all things in transition. It can also assist with deepening our interconnectedness with all things.
• Common humanity, no matter how bad a situation presents itself as, you can rest assured you are not alone in this experience.
• Cultivating faith, each time you sit to practice, by simply turning up you will witness the underlying pulse of life itself, forever changing, in transition and not permanent. In your practice or daily life you can deepen your faith in this constant flow by silently repeating: ‘this too will pass’, ‘fair enough’, ‘and that too’, ‘enough room for all’ or simply ‘yes’.
• Deepening your practice of appreciation, grace, contentment and moments of coming to awe and wonder.
• What works for you?
The well-known serenity prayer says, “May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Wisdom recognizes that all beings are subject to a constantly changing flow of numerous causes and conditions. We can deeply love others and offer them assistance, but in the end they must learn for themselves, they must be the source of their own path to inner growth and freedom. Equanimity combines an understanding mind together with a compassionate heart.
Create your compassionate seat. Then begin by reflecting on your motivation to deepening the sense of balance in your body, mind and heart.
Take some time to feel into what a gift it can be to bring a content and peaceful body, mind and heart to the world around you.
Let yourself feel an inner sense of what balance and ease mean to you. Then begin repeating such phrases as, “May I be balanced and at peace”, or whatever words of feelings speak to you.
Aware of the flow of the breath, arising and passing through.
Understanding the Universal law of all things arising and passing: joys, sorrows, pleasant events, people, buildings, animals, nations, and even whole civilizations. Letting yourself rest in the midst of this ongoing change. “May I keep learning to see the arising and passing of all nature with equanimity and balance. May I keep learning to be open, balanced and peaceful.”
Understanding that all beings are part of this inter-dependent arising of numerous causes and conditions. “May I bring compassion and equanimity to the flow of sensations within me, the events in my life and of the world. May I find balance and equanimity and peace.”