Return to your chosen spiritual practice and take about fifteen minutes to quiet your mind and open your heart. Now go back through the sacred gateway of your heart into that place where all suffering meets and joins, like a great ocean. Become aware that in this place of unity the rigid boundaries of your ego that separate people and divide the world no longer exist. Imagine yourself resting in this field of unity. As you rest in this field of unity become aware of how you are disappearing, and a presence – a force of far greater magnitude – is taking over.

How do you experience this presence? Remember you can name this presence whatever is appropriate and authentic for you. Take time to reflect, draw, and journal.

Now visualize yourself caring for someone in your life who is in pain. This could be a person, an animal, or even a poisoned river. As you care for them imagine yourself in direct partnership with this presence of mystery and infinite love. Imagine you are joined as one with this presence. Come face-to-face with this pain and visualize this presence working through you, guiding you, giving you courage, calmness, and profound compassion. How do you experience this partnership? How is it different from when you care for someone or something by yourself, without the support of this presence? How does your partnership with this presence affect the way you serve? Take time to reflect, draw, and journal.

Whenever you find yourself caring for someone or something you can practice deepening your partnership with this presence, allowing it to move through you. And each time you return to your chosen spiritual practice, you fortify this partnership.

Gail Straub in The Rhythm of Compassion