Eyes Wide Open: How to Transform Fear into Compassion

Colleen Saidman by Colleen Saidman | February 26th, 2010 | 3 Comments
topic: Personal Growth

Gandhi says that an impotent man is far more dangerous than a violent man. The more that I spend time in this body and in this world, I am starting to get a sense of what he may have been saying. It takes energy to move from fear to love. It takes momentum and courage to change from selfish to selfless. A violent man can re-direct his energy, whereas an impotent man or woman has no energy to re-direct. My mom and dad always told us to mind our own business, but Gandhi says that if you see an act of violence on the street and simply walk on by, that is not non-violence, it is cowardice.

Rodney and I saw three movies last week and it was a cry fest. We saw Brothers, The Messenger and Precious. Part of me would have rather buried my head in the sand rather than feel so deeply the pain and suffering of the human condition as portrayed in these movies that addressed very real issues of our time. I have heard people say life is hard enough without knowing what is going on in other peoples’ lives. But, really, what are our responsibilities as humans and as yogis? If we are one, then their suffering is ours. It can get confusing. But I would like to be part of a solution. I would like to offer some salve. And if I don’t keep informed, and if I don’t feel deeply, on a gut, visceral level, then I don’t think my actions will be appropriate. I really don’t have many answers, because I, too, turn off the news on many nights because it is just too much.

Where does meditation play into all of this?

It takes a lot of courage to sit on the cushion and not run away. All of the pain that we are talking about is actually inside of us. As we sit on our cushion with tears streaming as we connect with the suffering and feel true genuine compassion, we can then greet each being with a sense of understanding and compassion leading to right action. So, yes, it is important to sit on our cushion every day, but it shouldn’t stop there. We need to take the courage that we build by sitting with fear and transform it into love. We need to take our relaxed bodies and open hearts into the world with eyes wide open.


  1. The ability to feel deeply and to cry is a gift for the human spirit, to know your heart is full and alive is to acknowledge that you are present in your life. “Must be Present to Win” is the best tagline for living. I agree that a potent life is a real life, violence is just another path to living in your fear.

    Kim Schleicher | March 1st, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  2. If Colleen Would only acknowage the pain and suffering she caused when she left for here modeling career would I then know how she has changed and she really means well.

    Karl | April 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  3. Yes, you are so right. The greatest courage is needed to confront our own fears, and if we can do that, only then we can also go out and help make this world better.

    Sunny | May 18th, 2010 | Comment Permalink

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