During elections, sporting events, or work conflicts, it's easy to fall into us-and-them thinking. "We" are good, "they" are bad. This creates division and disconnection. We no longer see others as human—as people doing their best in a complicated world. This isolates us: we lose touch with our kind heart.
Instead of "us" and "them," we can envision humanity: we all want to love and be loved; we all want to live with ease. We might disagree—we might have different opinions—but we're still interconnected. If we ignore the human-ness in each other, we lose touch with love, compassion, and healing.
We often resist difficult circumstances and cling to happy ones. These habits of aversion and craving are natural, but they don’t feel good. They constrict our mind, body, and heart. A different choice is to make space for painful feelings and give away positive ones. Breathe in pain, breathe out healing. Breathe in fear, breathe out compassion. Breathe in difficulty, breathe out the appropriate and wholesome antidote. This practice—which can be used in meditation or in daily pauses—retrains our minds and enlivens our compassion. With each breath we reduce aversion and craving, while we build generosity and love.
Another “simple” practice that moves us toward connection.
Create space, look inward, and allow for compassion. Give it a try, listen to this audio: