“The most important thing you could possibly do right now -- for yourself and for everyone else -- is to begin to develop and/or to further develop your capacity to utilize your compassionate heart as a force of goodness and healing in your life and the life of humanity.”
--excerpted from Impossible Compassion by Edward Mannix
I find that the most profound things are the always the most simple. Breath and movement are simple. Sitting in stillness is simple. Yet my mind loves to complicate things. It seeks a process, steps, a practice, a how-to book. My brain likes to do this by asking one question: how? Often I know what I need to do. It feels clear and simple. Then my brain insinuates itself in there and asks, "How?" which unleashes a whole chain of problem solving thoughts that get more complex as they go.
And, that, my friends is how things get murky and how important things fall away in favor of the less important, surface stuff.
Author, change agent, Vipassana meditator, and practical spirituality guru Edward Mannix has managed to meld the simple and the profound and capture my attention with his work, Directed Compassion. He explains the practical tool of Directed Compassion in his book, Impossible Compassion: Utilizing Directed Compassion to Cure Disease, Save the Environment, Transform Relationships...and Do All Sorts of Other Good Things for Ourselves and Everyone Else. Yes, the title is a mouthful, and it sounds grandiose and possibly complex, but the book is beautiful in its simplicity. And best of all -- Mannix is right on target with his ascertation that compassion can be used as a tool to remake your life and change things for the better in the world around you.
In Part 1 of the book, Mannix explains the simple and effective Directed Compassion process and offers up a 1-minute short-cut technique that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. Mannix manages to answer my brain's favorite question (how?) while providing a simple transformative practice. The book is easy to read (Part 2 goes a bit more in-depth and is quite an interesting read) and can be digested quickly but the true gift is the process Mannix outlines. It falls into the category of you have to try it to truly appreciate it.
Compassion gets a lot of lip service but nowhere have I ever seen it captured so elegantly as to be applied to one's daily life. I loved Impossible Compassion and I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone wanting to improve his/her life and the life of others. And, yes, the fact that Mannix, who is a Vipassana meditator himself, recommends meditation is just another reason to love this book.
If, like me, you are interested in diving deeper into Directed Compassion, Mannix is offering an upcoming telecourse that will be half price if you sign up before March. You can learn more about it here.
I've heard a lot of lip service given to the concept and practice of compassion but this is the first time I've seen it so gracefully and elegantly presented as a life-changing tool. Here's to more compassion for yourself and others!