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  • My friend told me he often went to the same little corner grocery store in his neighborhood.

  • One day he realized that though it was usually the same woman working there each time, he

  • hardly ever noticed much about her. He had a slight impression that maybe she was kind

  • of grim, but he didn't really know. He felt shocked at himself and thought "for all I

  • really pay attention to her, she might as well be a cash register with arms."

  • So he went into the store, determined to actually pay full attention to her. The first thing

  • he noticed was that she was sining along to something playing on the radio, and that she

  • had a beautiful voice. When he said that to her, she responded with a wide, radiant smile.

  • As soon as he told me that story, I realized that I too often went into that same store.

  • And also had hardly noticed that women, except for maybe a vague sense that perhaps she was

  • a little grim.

  • I made a plan. I'm going to go into the store, say to her "I heard you have a really beautiful

  • voice" and watch her get really happy and give me a beautiful smile. But when I went

  • into the store, actually paying full attention to her, the first thing I noticed was that

  • she was already smiling broadly. Wait? What happened to a little bit grim. I realized

  • again how much of a person we miss when we don't pay attention. People are people, not

  • pieces of furniture. We each have a life, a story, changing moods, joys, sorrows. And

  • if we pay attention to one another, we recognize that, and our lives are enriched by a continuing

  • sense of discovery. That's the opening to true compassion. Sometimes we think of compassion

  • as a gift, which we've either gotten, or we haven't. If we haven't we're out of luck.

  • Or we think of compassion as some kind of emotional reaction that spontaneously erupts

  • out of us. I think of compassion as a natural result that comes from actually paying attention.

  • That means we continue to cultivate it.

My friend told me he often went to the same little corner grocery store in his neighborhood.

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B1 US compassion attention grim noticed pay attention pay

Where Does Compassion Really Come From?

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    poro posted on 2017/03/21
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