Compassion – how do we show up?


I don’t normally write posts like this but I felt compelled to throw this one out there.

How do we show up when we’re out in the world?  Where do we focus our energy and are we bringing out the best version of ourselves when we step outside? 

While waiting on the bus the other afternoon, a homeless guy jumped in my face and asked me for a dollar. I immediately got frustrated because he asks me this everyday and I brushed him off gruffly with a ‘no’. I had let my own frustrations and annoyances get the better of me and instead of taking the high ground, I was rude and dismissive. 3 minutes later a homeless woman approaches a blind guy asking for a dollar. He gave her all of the change he had in his pocket and apologized he didn’t have more. She approached me and asked the same question.

Having been taught a lesson on compassion unbeknownst to my fellow bus-goer, I looked her in the eye kindly apologized that I didn’t have a dollar as I don’t carry change. She rounded the corner and 1 minute later a group of tourists came around laughing that since they weren’t from Portland, they didn’t have to care about the homeless. That things were better where they’re from. 30seconds later another smaller group of friends passed by laughing about their encounter with the same  woman.

It hit home to me that we can’t be desensitized by our society.  We can’t think that just because we’re not from here, we literally do not have to care. Or that we can jeer at someone who we think is less than us. It’s too easy to forget that we are one. That we are equal. That we are here to learn from each other and grow to lead fulfilling lives.

The lesson from this experience for me was to go back to Yamas and Niyamas. Focus on ‘compassion’ or ‘Ahimsa (non-harming)’ for ourselves and for others. To show up and be the best version of ourselves. How else  are we to go forward if there’s hurtful laughter, belittling or judgment going on? 

    – Zita

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