"Compassion is the most important exploration we can have right now,” said Elena Brower, a bestselling author and internationally renowned meditation and yoga teacher, to more than 200 Mount students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends from around the country. Brower’s talk, “Compassion in Times of Deep Healing,” was the first in a new Virtual Events Series hosted by the University.
Brower began the event, held over Zoom, by inviting participants into a moment of meditation and asking them to adopt a “grandmother’s heart,” which is a compassionate way of looking at one’s self and the world. “Healing can take place when we focus on compassion in our body, our family and our community,” she said.
Her next exploration concentrated on being gracious in our communication. “How we design our responses is crucial to how we show up in the world,” she said. She offered five strategies for clear communication using the acronym GRACE: Gathering your attention, Recalling your intention, Attuning to your experience, Considering what will serve right now, and Ending (finding proper ways to close the interaction).
She also encouraged participants to adopt daily practices, which she called emotional, mental and schedule hygiene. Her emotional hygiene consists of both morning and evening mediation. For mental hygiene, she suggests starting a daily writing practice to answer the question, “What is meaningful today?” Schedule hygiene invites one to “look at the structure of your day and where your time is being spent, and see if that’s really where you want to spend it,” she said.
Brower offered more practical tips for daily living and inspiration, encouraging participants toward more mindful living. “Just try one thing I mentioned today,” she said. “By keeping one promise to yourself, you grow in personal integrity. The greatest high on planet Earth is to trust yourself.”
Brower ended the event with a practice of joy, inviting participants to take a joyful posture, with their arms outstretched high and wide. She told viewers, “Breathe until you feel it. It’s not a question of whether joy exists, it’s a question of whether we are inviting it in.
“We have to remember that this level of fluency comes with practice,” Brower said. “Stay in a place where your whole day is a space of compassion. Each day, put your hand on your heart to do it over again.”
Books by Brower
- “Art of Attention”
- “Practice You”
Visit the virtual event recordings page to watch this and other events.