The Competitive Edge of Compassion

When walking down the street, seldom will you see a smile. More likely than not, it’s a sea rounded shoulders. You will notice heads hanging low, as they sift through notifications to and fro.

A culture inundated with cognitively corrosive content, we can’t help but assume that our world is seemingly out to get us. Conditioned into combatting, confronting and competing against our fellow humans to -- somehow -- conquer.

What if we practiced the competitive edge of compassion instead? What if in showing such compassion to ourselves, we contribute to a collective that’s gasping for an ounce of humanity amidst a drought of dignity?

Humans have a deeply rooted anthropological need to connect, to be a part of a tribe, to know we’re not alone. We strive for support, purpose and belonging. Without it, we -- consciously and/or subconsciously -- wither away.

Henceforth the huge popularity of social media the interconnected web. Anyone now has the opportunity to connect and cultivate a community all their own -- anywhere in the world. 

That’s just it -- anyone -- has access to this tool. Anyone can share whatever they choose, with the world as their audience.

An endeavor once limited to the confines of culture and geographic specifications, is now at the fingertips of over a billion users worldwide.

A technological advancement so profound, it has statistically had the ability to impact political elections, deepen socioeconomic divisions, and toy with the mental wellness of today’s youth, on a global scale. Mental illness in teens and young adults is at an all time high, while the physical wellness of humanity suffocates under the stress society swears to be normal.

We are not designed to function this way.

Early on, humans are taught that inorder to be accepted by the whole, we must first separate ourselves through competition, defensiveness and fear-based beliefs. Basting in the broadening  of our differences, while neglecting to acknowledge our blatant commonalities. 

We are lead to believe that in competing against one another, we will have a greater advantage, a “cutting edge.” When in reality, it’s this divide -- denouncing compassionate connections with others as weakness -- that we find the block between us and our limitless potential.

The fact is, humans were not designed to go at the challenges of life alone, much less whilst inundated with stress levels of this magnitude. Humans evolved this far by cultivating communities of meaningful connections, built upon the foundations of empathy and compassion.

A human to human understanding, that we are all just ‘that’ -- human. A willingness to admit that we cannot -- and should not -- do this whole ‘human’-thing alone. An irrefutable truth that we are all deserving of compassion, and it begins within ourselves.

Compassion is a combination of empathy, strength and humanity. It is the very essence of what it means to love and be loved. We all know what it’s like to receive it as much as we understand what it’s like to crave it. As human beings, we also unfortunately relate to what it’s like to feel unworthy of it.

Compassion is acknowledging that objective kindness has a place in all situations. It’s having the strength to give love, without any concern of receiving it back directly. Rather it’s an awareness that, by simply living compassionately through the heart, you inevitably open yourself up to receive from limitless sources that cannot be quantified.

It’s when we look beyond our humanness, that we are able to find compassion, regardless of what chapter of life we’ve found ourselves in. 

We think that if we connect with this space, people will assume we’re from outer space. It’s when we eliminate the illusion, that the brain is in totalitarian control, that we realized just how complex a bit of compassion can be.

In Lilo & Stitch (Disney, 2002) ‘Experiment 626’ -- a devilish blue dude -- designed to destroy, plummets to earth crashing his ship on the island of Kauai while escaping galactic forces. 

Mistaking it for a shooting star, a recently orphaned Lilo makes a wish for a real friend, one that won’t leave and who needs a family too.

Nani, her older sister, feels helpless as Lilo’s legal guardian. Lilo refers to them as a “broken family,” with tenderness, eager to “stitch” the pieces back together. Beginning with their father’s family motto: “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten” no matter what.

They begin by adopting ‘626’-- who’s disguised himself as an adoptable ‘dog.’ Quick to asses the situation, he surrenders to his new ‘ohana’ in hopes of protecting himself from intergalactic imprisonment. A creature designed for pure destruction, finds himself in the arms of a lonely little girl, simply looking to love and be loved. She unwaveringly accepts him -- destructiveness and all -- determined to teach Stitch how to be a model citizen.

Throughout their journey, Lilo shows him, and Nani, that there is good in all of us -- regardless of our situation or programming. When we’re open to the receiving, of love and compassion from your chosen family -- ‘Ohana’ -- anyone can successfully readjust their “badness level.”

Back here on Earth, The HeartMath Institute has been integral in the innovations, research and teachings that link the metaphysical and physiological connections between the heart, brain and body. Showing us that when we access the feeling of love and compassion we actually have the capacity to transform our neurological connections. Including neurotransmitter production, and cognitive performance.

Deborah Rozman has been a part of HeartMath since “before the beginning” as she states in her talk during the 2016 Science & Non-Duality Conference.

In the early 1990s HeartMath determined that heart-rate-variability (HRV) is a pattern comprised of each individual beat that communicates directly to the brain via the vagus-nerve connection.

The brain, heart and gut are all connected by the vagus nerve, which in its etymology translates to all knowing or all seeing. The nerve itself is responsible for all conscious, and subconscious, functions of the human anatomy. Running all the way from the cerebellum into the small intestine.

Within the walls of the heart is its very own intrinsic nervous system that detects emotions like fear, anxiety, doubt, love, joy and relaxation, before the brain does. Informing the brain of how to properly respond to the given stimulus.

According to HeartMath, the heart and body send 90% of signals to the brain, not the other way around. They have also conducted a study that proves the heart has access to energetic information that goes beyond the five senses, leading us to a quantifiable conclusion that intuitive knowing comes from the heart, first.  

When the heart senses emotions like fear, it responds with quickfire irregular beats yielding heart-incoherence. When it experiences love, the beats are even, and consistent.

Thereby illustrating heart-coherence, a streamlined -- physical and metaphysical -- communication between brain, body and being.

In coherence we find greater cognitive capacity, and a significant decrease when stimulating incoherence. These patterns directly reflect the systemic neurological patterns of the Sympathetic (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems.

It’s when we toe that perfect line between the two that the brain enters into the flow state. In which the brain is both externally aware and intrinsically calm. This is the state of being mystics refer to as “alignment” as you are both receiving, and emitting, from the heart space with compassion and love.

HeartMath now has a Global Coherence Initiative, encouraging -- one ‘ohana’ at a time -- to practice compassion in hopes of lowering the collective’s quantifiable stress levels. With towers, around the globe, tracking the electromagnetic shift in the energetic fields of our planet.

HeartMath believes that in giving compassion to the self -- opening your heart -- we give the world what it so desperately needs.

While many of us are accustomed to competition, or comparison, in lieu of compassion, we must understand that collective compassion begins within ourselves. When we think, feel and act from our hearts we impact our immediate social surroundings and thereby the global collective. Cultivating an unadulterated army of humans committed to compassion. 

You are not destined for destruction, nor are you lost. You are not “alien” for feeling like there’s more to life than the stress that suffocates us. You are a human, deserving of giving compassion to yourself. With every opportunity in the galaxy to share some compassion with others. Even if it feels like time and space are out to get you, remember that your truest right, as a human, is to love and be loved, unconditionally.

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