Reflections on the Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
Part One of Step Three, by Henrita Frost
When I envision 12 steps to a compassionate life, I visualize an endless stairway that disappears into the universe. I imagine a limitless voyage to infinity. As a former Math teacher, I remember the challenge of solving problems to infinity. Infinity entered my life again in the Charter for Compassion and the awareness of the limitless potential of compassion, a hope for the Global Community.
In a distant zone in my being, I hear whispered the words, love yourself just as you are here and now. So often I have heard those words, realizing their impact isn’t always the same. For sometimes the love experienced is warm and comforting, sometimes distant and uncertain, and sometimes cold and empty.
Each of these experiences have had their time and place in my life. However, as my years and interactions with others grew, the phrase “love yourself just as you are here and now” developed into a wonderful place for me to hang out in. However, there are those experiences where I know I have been without compassion, for the shadow lingers within.
As I write this, my mind turns to the Golden Rule: “Treat others and the planet as you would like to be treated.” I remember an encounter when someone said to me, I can’t live the Golden Rule. The shock of the moment came when I realized I can’t live it either. Suddenly, compassion loomed. I reached for it despite my dark side, for life’s sufferings have strengthened me to believe I am able to be a compassionate companion to myself and others. Sometimes I fall, but in time I am usually able to rise again.
During this step of compassion for yourself, we engage the practice of the Buddha’s meditation on the four immeasurable minds of love which are central to the compassion program. For many years I used the Sacred Practice of Loving Kindness Meditation with groups. When I spoke of this practice, I encouraged the groups to Vibrate Compassion into the Universe. Let’s all vibrate compassion to one another and the Global Community.