Compassion: What It Is; What It Isn’t

If you’re not able or willing to read the post below, have a listen to the audio above. 

I first crossed paths with Steven Morrison about 15 years ago just as he arrived back to the U.S. from an international peace conference in Croatia. I was intrigued by his demeanor, so comfortable in his own skin and at peace even in the most chaotic of environments, yet totally accessible, raw and authentic. Fortunately that intrigue led to one of my most coveted relationships. A teacher, a model, a friend and the most non-judgmental being I know, Steven has been an integral force in my evolution.

After several years as a psychotherapist, Steven created the Spiritual Workout and founded The Consciousness Company where he infuses higher consciousness, applying 15 universally spiritual concepts, to empower individuals, organizations and the world at large. I credit Steven with deepening my awareness, helping me truly understand a whole set of principles that enrich my daily life as a spiritual/non-physical being having a human/physical experience.

My understanding of compassion, for example, was completely transformed. Steven broke it down for me in a way I’ve never heard before and since then, my perception and experience of compassion has never been the same, to my benefit and that of my relationship to others. Here it is from Steven himself, in his own words…

First, a disclaimer. My intention is to offer a few insights about compassion in everyday life and to spark a more comprehensive conversation.

Let’s begin with the […]

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DEPTH Picks

From time to time, DEPTH will highlight some gems on the web that are very much aligned with its mission to feed minds, move souls and transform the world:

*An illuminating piece on the power of making time for what you truly love to do by Tara Mohr.

*A powerful loving kindness meditation for strengthening our compassion muscle (toward ourselves + others) led by Tara Brach.

*A short interview with Iyanla that exemplifies the power and necessity of compassion, and what it really is.

*An enlightening interview with Terri Cole about self awareness and relationships (we might not be as self aware as we think we are).

*Joseph Aldo’s spot-on explanation of the dark night of the soul and profound transformation.

*Dr. Kelly Brogan on the power of minding our energy and owning our ability to choose.

Spotlight: Lisa Nichols

Sometimes we’re blessed to come across individuals that make you say, “Thank God this person exists in the world.” They have a powerful presence, an infectious spirit, the ability to help you get into alignment. One of the those people is Lisa Nichols.

I had the honor of interviewing Lisa about 10 years ago, just as she started to blow up in the personal growth and spirituality space. What I love most about Lisa is her unshakeable belief in the power of the human spirit and real transformation. She wholeheartedly believes everyone is worthy, we can beat the odds, and endless possibilities.

Whenever I come across Lisa’s work, my mood changes; my perspective expands; I feel more aligned with the truth. She truly is an embodiment of love and a reliable source for inspiration. Below are a couple of gems that are bound to strike a chord, if not, move the needle:

[On purpose] The two most important days of your life are the day you are born, and the day you know why.

Your human spirit simply says, What’s our command for tomorrow? What do you want to create? It’s not keeping score. Your mind is keeping score. Your mind is designed to keep you safe. Your soul, your intuition, your human spirit is designed to make you soar. Some days you have to be willing to play between your mind and your soul.

[On ego and beyond ego] Your energy is consumed with protecting, proving, hiding and defending. But if you let go of that, then […]

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Reflections Lately

When we feel inherently powerless, we hold onto limited views of power and the systems derived from them.

Domination and power are not interchangeable.

There’s a difference between interdependence and codependence.

There’s a difference between being in control and being in charge.

There’s the event and there’s the experience; the event is the same for all, the experience varies.

There’s a difference between inspiration and motivation.

There’s a difference between ambition and actualization.

Insistence and creativity are key.

The fulfillment that comes from aligning beliefs with desires.

Focus on the “being” in “human being.”

The freedom that comes from living unconditionally.

Dreams/desires are not frivolous; they’re essential to actualization.

Selective compassion waters down compassion.

The power in living life from the inside out.

There’s a difference between judgment and discernment.

There’s a difference between fitting in and belonging.

The suffering that comes from separation.

It takes a lot of commitment to undo sociocultural programming.

Sesame Street should run the world.

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Words of Wisdom

When I run after what I think I want,
My days are a furnace of distress and anxiety;
If I sit in my own place of patience,
What I need flows to me,
And without any pain.

From this I understand that
What I want also wants me,
Is looking for me
And attracting me;
When it cannot attract me
Any more to go to it,
It has to come to me.

There is a great secret
In this for anyone
Who can grasp it.

– Rumi

 

After all, optimism takes courage. The main ingredients in trust are daring and audacity — not blindness. ~Mohammed Fairouz

 

No one really knows enough to be a pessimist. ~Norman Cousins

 

What makes this hope radical…it’s directed toward a future goodness that transcends current ability to understand what it is. ~Jonathan Lear

 

Awareness is a conduit, not a solution. ~Jonathan Fields

 

Potential is always bigger than the problem. ~Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith

 

Life is a collection of moments. The idea is to have as many good ones as you can. ~from the film 5 to 7

 

There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve or date it. This is the most horrible truth. ~Anne Lamott

 

We are inherently lovable, we are inherently holy and we are inherently creative. ~Brené Brown

 

The universe is God made physical. ~Neale Donald Walsch

 

On any day of the year the denominator of kindness will be vastly greater than the numerator of cruelty. ~Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

 

FLOW always undermines the illusion of the separate self. ~Tara Sophia Mohr

 

Vengeance is a […]

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A valuable exercise: treating people like individuals

In a powerful conversation about his National Book Award-winning book, Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi made a striking point about the importance of treating people like individuals. When we don’t, we lose sight of their humanity–imperfect, complex beings with potential–and lose touch with ours, a perfect concoction for the proliferation of racist ideas.

Dr. Kendi’s point hit home for me in various ways particularly with regard to a realization I had about two years ago.

I grew up with a Peruvian mother and Dominican father. My Peruvian side is predominately of Incan and Spanish heritage and my Dominican side is predominately of African and Spanish heritage. While there was a sense of connection being latino immigrants living in the Bronx in the 70s, my parents’ getting together was problematic for my mother’s side of the family and seemingly beneficial for my father’s side at the time. It may not have been solely driven by anti-blackness, but it certainly was an integral factor.

I picked up on that tension very early on while also absorbing the cultural messaging around me: there is a hierarchical order to life where humans on the lighter end of the spectrum are superior and on the darker end, inferior. Eurocentricity, white supremacy and anti-blackness prevailed in covert and overt ways from my personal family engagement (with both sides), 80s American media and entertainment to the novelas and various latino media and entertainment I would soak up as a […]

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