As compassion for ourselves, others, and the planet develops and grows, we begin to feel ourselves expand. Just by our decision to embark upon this journey of spiritual transformation, we took the first steps to leave the state of contraction and selfishness behind. By now we are growing and expanding so much that we are bursting out of the bonds of the cocoon.
For the eighth month, stretch your wings! That is, let your mind, heart, and soul reach out into the world. Focus on feeling the different ways in which you are connected to everything, both near and far. Notice the interconnectedness of all things.
In the last journal entry I discussed the difference between compassion and empathy, and how our empathic ability and understanding allows us to find compassion for others. It is through both empathy and compassion that we learn, or remember, that we are truly all connected and interconnected. It is this awakening and awareness that clears the way for each of us to expand.
However, challenges can arise as we expand, as we open ourselves to empathically pick up on others’ emotions and states of being, and as we extend compassion towards others and in turn ourselves (as we learn to face, accept, and understand our own pains and suffering). A question was brought up in the last entry’s comments about how to face the challenges of “moments of empathic build-up,” and what to do. The protective and instinctual thing most of us would do is shut down, withdraw, or become emotionally numb. However, this leads to contraction, which inhibits our spiritual growth and often makes us feel alone in the world.
In order to be open and expand without becoming overloaded by what we pick up empathically and without allowing ourselves to be so open that we become drained by others, firstly we need to be grounded. When grounded, we are centered in our Be-ing, and it is easier to differentiate between our own emotions and others. Being grounded helps to turn the focus and awareness within, from the heart and soul, instead of the ego/mind’s over-thinking and illusions of the external circumstances. When grounded we can observe both ourselves and others with clarity and compassion.
There are many ways in which we can ground ourselves. Some of these I have mentioned in other posts, but here is a list of some practices that help us stay grounded and bring us back to center while at the same time bringing to our awareness the interconnectedness of all. They are also good for our health and spiritual growth:
- Breathe! Stop for few minutes to take some deep breaths when feeling overloaded with emotions or overwhelmed by others’ emotions. Breathe deeply or do some Pranayama practices.
- Meditate or just sit quietly clearing the mind of thoughts.
- Do some gentle moving meditation such as walking, tai chi, or yin yoga.
- Engage in intense exercise to help burn off and release extra steam so it’s easier to ground.
- Visualize roots coming from your feet growing into and connecting to the nourishing support of Mother Earth.
- Do devotional practices, such as chanting Mantras, prayer, or reading sacred texts.
- Physically connect to the earth: walk barefoot on the earth or beach, garden, or be in nature.
- Staying well-hydrated also helps. Water, like earth, is a feminine element, and they help us stay connected to our divine-feminine within (men and women) which is intuitive, empathic, and compassionate.
When in the midst of an empathic build-up moment with others, we may not be able to stop and walk away to do some grounding, but remember that we can always breathe. Our breath connects us to the universe, and every other human, animal, and plant on the planet. It both clears the clutter of the mind and opens the heart to connect to all with compassion. Like the butterfly free from the contracted confines of the cocoon, open up, stretch, and fill your wings with breath!
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