For compassion to develop toward a wide range of persons, mere knowledge of how beings suffer is not sufficient; there has to be a sense of closeness with regard to every being. That intimacy is established either through merely reflecting that everyone equally wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering, or through reflecting on the implications of rebirth, or both, with the one reinforcing the other.
I had a profound experience of exactly this a couple months ago, right before Thanksgiving.
I ride the bus a lot, usually during the day. This time I was riding on a Saturday night and the crowd on the bus was very different than it is during regular commuting hours. As an empath, I tend to be highly sensitive to others around me, but the practice of Reiki has always helped me not to be overly affected. But I was tired. I yearned to be home, because it had been a long weekend out of town, and I’d already had a long bus ride. I was almost home. I kept trying to bring myself back to the present and back to my center so I wouldn’t be pulled off balance by the emotions and energy loose on the bus.
I listened in to conversations and observed passengers–people were going to concerts, to parties, to things they didn’t normally do during the week.
A person who was obviously drunk was behind me. His son had made him an offer: he was invited to Thanksgiving dinner with his son and daughter-in-law if he wanted, or the son would buy him a meal and alcohol for him to have by himself. He was discussing with another passenger which option would be best and how much alcohol might be available at Thanksgiving dinner with his son, if he went that route. I was partly fascinated and partly saddened.
The couple in front of me asked the driver which stop would let them off at the Gothic Theatre. They were dressed up goth style, but I could see from the woman’s haircut that this was not her usual mode of dress. That plus her age suggested to me that she and her companion were re-visiting an experience from their youth.
Suddenly I was overwhelmed with the feeling that each one of these people simply was yearning, like I was, for some destination, some feeling, some experience beyond what they normally had. Each one wanted happiness. Each one was trying to avoid suffering. At that moment I was perfectly in love with every person on the bus, with Denver, with everything.
It was truly an experience of oneness and compassion.
Joy Vernon specializes in Traditional Japanese Reiki and is a certified Komyo Reiki Shihan (Teacher). She studied with Komyo Reiki Kai Founder Hyakuten Inamoto in 2011 and 2013. She is also a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in the Usui Reiki Ryôhô lineage through IHR. Joy has been practicing Reiki since 2003 and teaching since 2007. She is the Organizer of the Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup and is a member of Shibumi International Reiki Association and the Healing Touch Professional Association. Learn more at JoyVernon.com.
© 2014 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.