Divine Abodes, Part 2: Compassion

I started out talking about the “Divine Abodes” in a trans and gender-expansive context in my last post. This is the Buddhist concept of four qualities of heart and mind which I see as qualities that are important for resilience.

The second of these is compassion. Compassion is the concern for the suffering and misfortunes of others. And self-compassion is concern for our own suffering. This isn’t the same as pity – pity is almost a looking down on from above, in a way. Compassion is “feeling with” – in a sense being in the soup with others who are suffering.

Pain and suffering are pretty much a part of all human life, but for trans and gender-expansive folks, there is the added pain and suffering from our own internal struggles around our gender, and also society’s imposing of the gender binary.

Starting with ourselves, and working to have compassion for our own pain and suffering is important. Cultivating self-compassion increases our abilities to be resilient, make good decisions for ourselves, and provides fertile internal grounding for growth and joy. Further, building self-compassion first actually increases our capacity for compassion for others.

And compassion for our siblings in this trans and gender-expansive journey is also very important. There are as many ways to be trans and gender-expansive as there are people who are trans and gender-expansive. There is no “right” way to be trans, or go through transition. It’s important for all of us to feel validated and celebrated by our community no matter what our choices are.

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