My yoga teacher was sharing the notion of ‘self interest’ and how we all seem to be striving for something, working to accomplish goals, perhaps even purchasing something that has importance to us. It struck me that while these traits are all very human and necessary, they reflect a tunnelled focus towards ones self. Conversely, the world seem to be calling out for more and more compassion directed its way. Wherever we look, if we slow down long enough to truly see, we can find people in need. Some have lost everything in a natural disaster and others might just be struggling to find a bit of joy in their day.
So what can we do to lift our gaze and shift our focus from self to others? I believe yoga can play a role. When we are in the mode of striving, accomplishments and pushing to get ahead we seem to be holding onto things rather tightly. Both in our minds and our bodies. As we practice yoga and move through the asanas on the mat we are stretching muscles and spine, literally creating more space in the body. And perhaps this newly found space can move towards the heart, making just a little bit more room. And who knows . . . maybe that heart space can be filled with compassion towards others.
There will always be time to fulfil our own small self interests, but sometimes the urgency lies in extending ourselves and offering something we have – even a smile – to others.
If you believe in a JOYful world maybe create a little space for compassion today.