Karmic Muscle Group: Awareness, Intentionality, Compassion
Today’s Exercise: Listen For The Voice Of Virtue – Compassion
[Preparatory Note: This exercise requires that you remember to do it. Remembering to do something that is not a habit can be difficult. To help us remember, we are going to use a mnemonic device. The best way to remember something is to put something odd in a place that you will surely notice throughout your day. The oddness of seeing the thing will trigger the memory that will remind you to take action. In this case, we are going to use a piece of string or ribbon tied to a finger on our dominant hand. This will not draw too much attention from others, but will frequently remind us (unless you wear string on your fingers regularly) throughout the day to do the exercise.
At any given time of any given day, human beings are covering the full spectrum of thought and activity from rape and murder to desperately trying to save the life of another. This means that all of this thinking and action is always present in the stream of awareness available to any single human being, especially those with an internet connection. In the Information Age, we are usually so overwhelmed by the buzz and fizz of human thought and action that we filter almost all of it out - the good, the bad and the ugly. While this insulates us from having our hearts broken all day long by an endless stream of unhappy news, it also cuts us off from being aware of the daily expressions of human virtue and the dignity of human life. Time to come out of your protective cocoon.
To listen for a particular virtue requires that you have that virtue on your own mind. When we are angry about something and anger is on our mind, nearly anything, even the yapping of a little puppy, can trigger rage because we are listening a place to put our anger. This is a function of what psychologists call "priming". We hear what we want to hear and what we want to hear is usually what is already on our mind. If we are angry at the government and read the news, the stories about politics and political shenanigans will practically leap from the news paper or internet.
To do this exercise, we have to prime our minds to be listening for virtue, in this case, the virtue of compassion. We want the compassionate acts of others to virtually leap up from the means by which we learn of them and fill our awareness. Yes, you can cause this to happen on purpose. You have more power to shape your consciousness than you think.]
- Prepare your mnemonic device. In this case, you are going to tie a ribbon or string to a finger of your dominant hand. It will be out of place enough to wake you up every time you see it.
- To “consecrate” the device, in other words, create a symbolic identity between the device and your intention to hear compassion, you will need to perform a small ritual. Rituals are not by themselves possessed of any particular power. Depending on how a person relates to ritual, however, especially if one creates a relationship with ritual that is devoid of doubt, the ritual penetrates the crust of our thinking to create “priming”.
- Take 3 minutes to meditate. Start by getting your breathing established in a regular pattern of long inhales and equally long exhales.
- Take another three minutes to visualize the enormous amount of human compassion that is being expressed in the world every day. There are people being helped by the kind-hearted; there are elders teaching the young and parents showing affection to their children. Somewhere someone is getting an organ transplant from a person who died and left them a piece of their body. Charge your mind with knowing that this is happening right now, all over the world.
- Loosely tie a knot in your mnemonic device, but do not pull it tight yet. Breath in all of the compassion that is floating in the world as it is being given off by the kind-hearted. This might take several breaths. Exhale this compassion into the knot and pull the knot tight as you exhale to bind the compassion in the knot.
- You Are What You Are Listening To: whether it be your own internal dialogue or a song about having sex, you are what is on your mind. Your whole consciousness starts to cluster around the conversation in your head – even if you did not put it there. You are not required to live in a random stream of consciousness. You can choose what is on your mind. Choosing to listen for virtues like compassion bring those virtues into your being, prime your mind and inspire your action consciously and subconsciously. This literally changes your behavior and changes the world around you in ultimate effect.
- Active Listening Changes Lives And Changes Planets: the most inspirational people on earth live inside of a conscious motif of thought. They are focused on and become a vehicle for their perceptions. They change the world because they are able to inspire others to think what they think and be inspired by what inspires them. They plant thoughts into the mind streams of others. We can be informed by a song about co-dependent love gone awry or we can be informed by looking for examples of heroism and compassion in our world. What you listen to fills your head full of everything from complete crap to the magnificence of human potential. You would not sleep in a pile of garbage, why live in a pile of ontological waste?
- Ritual Is The Axe That Cracks Through Your Cynical Crust Into The Part Of Your Brain That Is Creating Your Waking Day: our minds can be difficult to tame. Anyone who has ever struggled with something like trying to quit cigarette smoking knows that self-control is far from automatic. Some thoughts, however, are more powerful than others. When we put our intentionality to work by creating reverence or some other heightened state of awareness, we can often make a bigger impact on our thinking. Rituals are methods that do just that – crack through the crust of distraction, ignorance or cynicism to get to the core of our think that can be shaped before it becomes polluted with random mental trash.
It May Be Fiction, But It Is One Heck Of A Karmic Workout.
Read The Lotus Blossom, D. M. Kenyon’s fictional account of a teenage girl who turns off her cellphone and enters the very real, but mystical world of Budo warriors. Humorous, irreverent and heart-wrenching, The Lotus Blossom is an unforgettable tale of a Midwestern teenage girl’s transformation into a budo warrior in the midst of the turmoil of the Information Age. Available in all digital formats, paperback and soon to be released in hardcover.
Share Your Experience:
Leave a comment when you have completed the exercise.