Compassion Cultivation: A Poem

Compassion Cultivation

Underneath the radiant sun peeking through the thick foliage, I sit.

The small ripples of the water kiss the edge of the land.

Within the calming swish of Somes Sound, I meditate

Inhaling the suffering of all who feel alone and unworthy.

I see a woman crawling from exhaustion, caught in a tornado of tribulation,

Tattered by the particles of lies she holds so close.

Exhaling a peaceful, bright wish that we all may be free from this pain,

I tenderly touch her clenched hands.

As my eyes open, a warm breeze moves through the trees

And I hear the moment. My hands open.

I reply with a soft laugh and a bow.


This poem tries to encapsulate my experience with compassion cultivation.  Meditation has provided me with a foundation through which I can reflect deeply on my life–past, present, future. On and off cushion practice has provided me with accessible ways to shift and transform my thinking, perspective and behavior. These shifts, these transformations support my effort to live a compassionate life and to bring compassion into the world.

The beauty of compassion cultivation is within our interdependence. When we cultivate compassion within ourselves, we bring it to those around us. When we bring compassion to our interactions with others, we nurture the seed within. Compassion cultivation is a challenging practice as it requires us to be willing, even a little bit, to see ourselves and to begin to know, connect and love ourselves. It challenges us to learn how first to see and then be with others’ suffering in a way that reinforces our interdependence. Compassion can connect us in such a powerful way that together we can all fully experience life and its beautiful messiness. 

Please go to the Meditations tab to access resources. Also, please forward to me other resources that you have found helpful.


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