Often, people take up a meditation practice for personal reasons such as to clear or stop their mind, to address emotions that they have difficulty controlling, to learn to listen better or study better or be more alert.
Yet, if one is diligent with one’s practice, one begins to discover that in addition to the beneficial results for one’s self, empathy for others begins to increase. The majority of human beings also are distressed, many are wild in their emotions or behavior, too many are thoughtless and/or selfish in their interactions and uncaring about the ramifications and results of those self-important actions. One begins to open to the untamed in humanity and in the world precisely because one has begun to open to the same in oneself. With the desire to better oneself, one then experiences an aspiration to help improve the human condition for the world and humanity.
This is a substantial display of the inseparable dynamic of on-the-cushion/off-the-cushion of a meditation practice. Whatever technique or method is being used to clear the mind will bring its result whether in the quiet of a meditation room or in the fullness of one’s day. Similarly, all heart-full practices, mindful practices, and contemplations on impermanence, or how rare and precious our world is will bring their results into the spectrum of our life. As a result, care and warm-heartedness will naturally increase in the practitioner, which adds the same into the world and one’s local environments.
For curious reasons, long ago humanity oriented toward the concrete mind. One result is concrete in every way that one can think on that(!): substantiality, expecting things or people or a life span to last, intransigence, hardness of emotions, and so forth. The heart of the mind, the heart of hearts, the power of empathy, creative solutions that address all needs equally, that care about all needs equally, and so forth lies before us and within us. A meditation practice leads one to the non-duality (on the cushion and off the cushion) of Awareness’s heart.