To alleviate suffering and cultivate compassion in your life, one of the first things you need to do is expand your Awareness of what is happening around you. Most of the time, you rush around oblivious of what challenges others are facing in their lives.
Too often you stay enclosed within a relatively limited perspective of life by focusing on your own personal problems, needs, activities, and desires. These needs are certainly important and are not to be downplayed; however, it is equally important to lift yourself out of your self-absorption, discouragement, and depression.
You can do this by enlarging the circumference of your Awareness by practicing compassion toward others. Around every corner there is a great story waiting to be discovered, lived, and retold, and people love to hear them. Everyone has a story.
Sonder. You are the main character—the protagonist—the star at the center of your own unfolding story. You’re surrounded by your supporting cast: friends and family hanging in your immediate orbit.
Scattered a little further out, a network of acquaintances who drift in and out of contact over the years.
But there in the background, faint and out of focus, are the extras. The random passersby. Each living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
They carry on invisibly around you, bearing the accumulated weight of their own ambitions, friends, routines, mistakes, worries, triumphs and inherited craziness.
When your life moves on to the next scene, theirs flickers in place, wrapped in a cloud of backstory and inside jokes and characters strung together with countless other stories you’ll never be able to see. That you’ll never know exists.
In which you might appear only once. As an extra sipping coffee in the background. As a blur of traffic passing on the highway. As a lighted window at dusk.