3 Ways Towards a More Mindful and Compassionate You

I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers who give me the time and energy to “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to do what we want. As a young, impressionable kid, I believed all those things because well, they make sense. they worked. And honestly, I thought it was the only way to flourish.

I didn’t grow up considering any other path. I slogged my way through my goals and reminded myself of the rewards I’d reap from discipline running deep in my veins—and that’s led me to good things: from a good university. A degree, a stable job, promotion year after year, and so on. I achieved a lot which the society will consider as success.

Allowing my life to be disciplined, it propelled me down the path of (perceived) stability and (socially accepted) security, okay, but… living is no longer enough. I became restless when I was looking for something else, something that didn’t need to be forced or pushed… something that came naturally to me. It was then that I started my love affair with the concept of Bhakti.

Here are the top three ways in which I introduced self-devotion into my life:

1. I live consciously from the heart

Contrary to what others think, living by your heart doesn’t have to mean being unstable, or unreliable, or emotional 24/7. It’s about listening to what your feelings, your body, and your soul have to say… and accepting what needs to come up. Without rationalizing and intellectualizing everything.

It means living, creating, and connecting with others in a way that is centered in your body. It’s about allowing different feelings and sensations to run through you until it is recognized (and it dissipates).

And from this grounded place where every part of your being is acknowledged, you will feel that deep within you a wave of compassion is constantly rising. You will be brighter and will naturally have more patience and a deeper understanding of people.

Query to activate it at this time:

  • How can I be more kind?
  • What is triggering this action?
  • Can I sit with this feeling and watch what happens?

“If you want to make others happy, show kindness. If you want to be happy, adopt compassion.” – Dalai Lama

2. I Redefined Concepts to Align With a Heart-Centered Life

As I consciously live with my heart, I see how ironically reasons are coming to my mind as to why I am not living a “proper” life. At first, I thought it was just because I wasn’t used to listening to my body about what I really wanted and wanted to do in the moment. But as time goes by, I realize that there are actually a lot of things I’ve learned that are out of date for my journey.

For one thing, I have a different definition of what success is. I used to think that success is a checklist and everyone has the same items to check. Now, I see success as I define it. I don’t even use the word that much anymore. What I prefer to measure is the level of my presence in everything I do rather than chasing an ideal that I know is not for me.

Another is that I grew up to make decisions based on detail and ability. Instead of waiting for things to happen before moving on, I use my innate instinct to play and imagine. I ask myself, “Which option makes me feel the most expansive?” To be honest it was a hit and miss when I first started doing this. But the more I treated life as an experiment, the easier it became for me to connect with what felt most true to me.

Query to activate it at this time:

  • What voices tell me I can’t live life from the heart?
  • Am I ready for new avenues and ideas to experiment?
  • How can you add more drama to your life?

3. I took care of my body like I’ve never done before

I found that a lot of my emotional turmoil and reactive states stemmed from not feeling good with my physical body—maybe it was due to my (recently expiring) a decade-long battle with eczema, My 20-pound weight gain or my very acidic blood chemistry a few months before my wedding. It had taken a long time for me to fully realize and accept it as true for me. But once I did, it was always a forward and upward progression from then on. Slowly but forward.

Again, I treated things as experiments, detaching myself from the results, and realizing how certain foods or exercise modalities made me feel. If it makes me feel alive, I do it a second time. If it doesn’t and that’s a strong number for me, I’ve taken it off my list entirely. I do this with the choices I have daily – what to eat for dinner, what kind of exercise videos to play for the day, how to better myself when I get restless and emotional. It goes on, and I’ve fallen in love with the process even before I got results.

Query to activate it at this time:

  • How is my body feeling right now?
  • When was the last time I felt alive?
  • Can I include more such activities in my daily routine?

“Your body is not a temple, it is a house in which you will always be. Take care of it.” – Colin Wright

The steps above are the ones I’m going back on and have helped me reach a level of purpose I never imagined. Self-devotion is an evolutionary practice. This is what humanity is longing to have at its core. It is once again an act of refusal to be bound by societal rules, especially after millennials have been provided with strict blueprints on how to live life. Self-devotion is coming back to you. Are you ready to accept yourself like this?

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