Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if
they don’t want it. What appears bad manners,
an ill temper or cynicism is a always a sign of
things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there
where the spirit meets the bone. ~ Miller Williams
This is a poem I have used over the years in my books and articles, but one that is particularly needed right now. And Miller’s daughter, Lucinda, has just put out a double album titled “Where the Spirit Meets the Bone.” Since he is one of my top five favorite writers and she one of my top five favorite musicians, an article is in order. But what more can I say that he has not said in this piece? I think the key thoughts are: even if they don’t want it and you do not know.
We are never going to know exactly what has engendered the emotions he describes, but those attitudes nearly always drive us away to someone more pleasant to be with. Why waste our precious time with those who drag us down with what appears to be bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism? The poet isn’t suggesting a long conversation where we try to convert the person to a more cheerful point of view. He is saying this is about everyone you meet. All that is required is a change of how we look at the person. I suggest this is a conscious change from “head seeing” to “heart seeing.” Passing by and dropping a silent blessing is the attitude of compassion. Not judging someone who loses their temper—either directly toward us or in our hearing—is a cultivated way of being. Here’s a tool I teach in HeartMath® that, when practiced daily, changes us to a heart-focused place in any situation. It’s called the Heart Lock-In®:
- Focus your attention in the area of your heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.
- Activate and sustain a regenerative feeling such as appreciation, care or compassion. (Imagine a time when you felt one of these feelings, and fill your body with the memory.)
- Now radiate that renewing feeling to yourself and others.
Using research-based tools like this, and others, will lead to strengthened resilience and the increased awareness of the heart and its power! The most important shift for all of us is the awareness that we are energetic beings bringing our energy together with other individuals on a minute-by-minute basis. The graphic below shows the measurable energy range of the average heart’s magnetic field. Imagine a networking group and the intermingling of these energies and then extend that out into into a global energy network. Doing the heart-focused exercises make sense when you see the range of energy. Breathing in compassion, for instance, means that we are then purposefully “broadcasting” that compassion out to others. The heart’s energy field contains all of our emotional feelings in the moment. What an opportunity to change the atmosphere!