I think there's a useful analogy to be made between allowing the breath to be natural during mindfulness meditation and allowing compassionate activity to be natural outside meditation.
The breath may calm and fade away altogether as we progress, but reducing our breathing isn't a sensible meditation method, though we can do it slightly for a short while.
I think it's the same in terms of compassionate activity. The breath fading away would be analogous to the self-attachment fading away. Just like the breath our compassionate activity needs to be as natural as possible. Trying to act without self-attachment may not be the best way to reduce self-attachment, especially if it means losing any sense of enjoyment and relaxation. And in adding an activity we can easily cover over our deeper activity, rather than engage with it. And ultimately, only by seeing through the delusion of separate selfhoods can self-attachment be removed.
But what does 'natural' mean here? Perhaps we can use similar indicators of naturalness we apply in meditation, to help us remain balanced. Perhaps it means feeling enjoyment and relaxation deepening, rather than the reverse. How much force do we use in both cases of inside and outside meditation?
BAM stands for Buddhist Action Month. Deaction means 'the reduction of action'. If you haven't heard that word before then it's probably because I just made it up. However, I think it's a rather good word, and it's something we could benefit from doing more of - especially us Buddhists!
Both the breathing and our compassionate activity feel effortless as we progress more. Fundamentally they are reductions of activity; the breathing is reduced and our self-attachment is reduced. However, compassionate activity requires additional activity, in that we actually have to benefit someone. Using one activity to reduce another activity can become confusing. It can be a challenge to keep in touch with what's natural, as if we are trying to hold our breath in order to deepen meditation.