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LENSES OF COMPASSION

“Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear.” ― Valarie Kaur

Every Friday I meet my Aunt outside of the city and we go for a walk. We talk about her life, my life, our family, and common interests. Every so often she will stop and say “Oh Madi, look at the color of the sky, it’s almost purple!”, I’ll look up, see blue, and ask if I can put on her glasses. Once I do, I can see the stunning purple tint that comes from the lens that she looks through.


It seems very simple, but if you think about it we all are wearing our own lenses of perception. Some are simple to spot: hunger, exhaustion, excitement, youth, wisdom; we immediately notice when those around us perceive the world differently. There are also more complicated lenses to understand; the way we were raised, the media we consume, and our personal experiences.


Awareness of what lenses we look through can help us navigate everyday life. Often when dealing with difficult situations, we will put our defenses up and refuse to see other perspectives. One practice of compassion is to have wonder, and metaphorically try on someone else's glasses. Consider the way the world looks through the lenses of those around you, ask questions, and listen. Homework: Have an open conversation with someone different than you, try to learn about them without giving your advice or opinion.

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