A Mindful Doctor – On Compassion

The word compassion means acknowledging the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.

In healthcare, compassion is something we expect all carers to have. A question to consider is, ‘Is compassion an innate quality in everyone, and is more so in carers, or is it something that can be learnt?

Teaching Compassion

Over the last decade I have attended several international conferences on the subject of compassion, where the lack of it has been discussed and how it should be part of everyday healthcare practice. Since 2008 at Napier University in Edinburgh, compassion has been part of the nursing schools curriculum for the last seven years. Nurses are taught and examined on the subject. There is also a peer reviewed journal of Compassionate Care.

I believe that everyone is compassionate and, only a small minority with psychopathic tendencies lack empathy. Yet many healthcare professionals find it a challenge to be compassionate all the time. Their work leaves them feeling drained, physically and emotionally, which can lead to burnout and all its consequences.

Be a Channel of Compassion

One of the lessons I learnt when training to be a healer was to be a channel of compassion. In my medical practice when consulting with patients, rather than give of my own energy of compassion I would connect to the Source and channel that energy to the person in front of me.

It needs to be practised and strengthened with meditation practice, so it can be done quickly and easily, while dealing with patients issues in the consulting room. Often at the end of a session I would feel energised rather than depleted when I used this method.

One does not have to have a belief in a Universal Cosmic Source, but give it a try and see if you feel less drained, and observe the benefit it may bring to those who are suffering.

Craig Brown

To follow Craig’s daily mindfulness suggestions @amindfuldoctor  please click here.

Craig’s free meditation podcasts can be accessed by clicking here. Do see his podcast number 10, for a meditation on compassion.

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