“If one knew oneself were precious, one would guard oneself with care.”
So, often on the spiritual path we are told to hold everyone with compassion, to always be generous. This is all very good advice.
But a problem can arise when we start to feel that giving is everything. I’ve had the experience of giving away too much of my energy. I’m sure many of you have too.
There’s something we can very easily forget. Our compassion has to include ourselves. Self care is critical. There’s a story about the Buddha prior to his Enlightenment. He tried to find spiritual truths by giving up everything. He stopped eating and sleeping. He just sat on the ground meditating naked all the time.But he realized that wouldn’t work. Giving up everything doesn’t bring spiritual awakening. It just makes you feel like shit. Balance is where the truth is.
Give generously, cultivate patience and kindness. But never forget to take care of your needs too.
Daniel Scharpenburg is a meditation instructor and dharma teacher in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world.