What does it mean to practice present moment compassion? It's a question I have been contemplating lately.
When a family member, friend, or patient comes to me with a story of suffering, I look into my cloudy crystal ball mind and agonize for a clear image of their future. What can this fortune teller say or do that will mitigate their suffering?
But present moment compassion does not work this way. When I am attached to a fixed outcome for them, I completely miss what is right in front of me. I cannot offer an open, spacious listening presence that allows healing seeds to be planted in the present moment. I'm too busy envisioning a perfectly manicured, comfortable and safe future garden haven for them because I have said and done the right things now.
That's one hell of an ego trip. Though I care deeply and want the best possible outcome for them, do I even have that kind of power?
What if we plant this future garden together? What if their words of suffering are watered by our collective tears? What if I am the silent space surrounding their stories, sensing when and where certain nutrients, sunlight, and rain are needed? What if we recognize and allow life to be here just as it is, patient for the seeds of longing to grow in their own way, in their own time?
May this contemplation nurture healing presence in myself, in all beings everywhere without exception.