"It is the lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others"- The 14th Dalai Lama
The above quote by the highest spiritual teacher of our day sums up the process of transformation. The relationship with "ourselves" is key to our mental and emotional mobility.
Compassion is defined as the "sympathetic concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others". We can acknowledge that self-compassion is the prerequisite to compassion..
I believe it is important to recognize that compassion happens in the present moment. Yoga practice teaches us to be present and "IN" the moment, breath by breath and pose by pose. Once we learn to be present, we create space and connect to our "deeper self." The self is not the mind-made concept — your name, your title, your history — but the being that does not change throughout. Once we connect to our being, our humanity, we recognize others and connect with compassion.
Unfortunately, the mind-made self (ego) can most times be judgmental, negative, and even abusive, constantly fighting for control. This process can also be identified as the perpetual thinking mind. This perpetual process of thinking is a collective of thoughts which is usually not the truth. They are translations in our own minds with our individual filters to feed and fit the storyline we create.
It helps to equate this thought process as an annoying roommate that is living in your head. Michael A. Singer introduces this concept in the second chapter of his book The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself. The annoying roommate is mostly judgmental, fearful, negative, and competitive. The untimely self is the opposite—no fear, equanimous, loving, and calm.
Home Practice - 1. Sit or lie down comfortably 2. Close your eyes. 3. Focus on your breathing, observing the breath as it is. Place your right hand on your heart and the left hand over the right. 4. Thank yourself, tell yourself you love yourself, and give yourself the attention love and acceptance you may be craving from another or the outside world.
Do this at the end of your meditation practice or at the start and/or end of your day.
This is where all transformation begins. It begins with you.