Compassion 2   

Quotes for
the Journey:



No one cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

Don Swartz

The path of compassion leads to the development of insight.  But it doesn't work to say, "Ready, set, go!  Be compassionate!"  Beginning  any practice depends on intention.  Intention depends on intuiting--at least a little bit--the suffering inherent in the human condition and the pain we feel, and cause, when we act out of confusion.  It also depends on trusting--at least a little bit--in the possibility of a contented, satisfied mind.       -Sylvia Boorstein
Until we extend the circle of our compassion to all living things, we will not ourselves find peace.        -Albert Schweitzer

Compassion is the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity.  It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and the deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment.        -Arthur Jersild

Compassion is the basis of all truthful relationship:  it means being present with love--for ourselves and for all life, including animals, fish, birds, and trees.  Compassion is bringing our deepest truth into our actions, no matter how much the world seems to resist, because that is ultimately what we have to give this world and one another.       -Ram Dass

Compassion is a foundation for sharing our aliveness and building a more human world.        -Martin Lowenthal

Compassion is the basis of all morality.      -Arthur Schopenhauer

At times I think the truest image of God today is a black inner-city grandmother in the U.S. or a mother of the disappeared in Argentina or the women who wake up early to make tortillas in refugee camps.  They all weep for their children and in their compassionate tears arises the political action that changes the world.  The mothers show us that it is the experience of touching the pain of others that is the key to change.     -Jim Wallis


Compassion for others comes naturally as you recognize your own limitations.       -Stephen C. Paul


As Gandhi wisely points out, even as we serve others we are working on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine compassion naturally nourishes our own hearts as well.  It is not a question of who is healed first.  When we attend to ourselves with compassion and mercy, more healing is made available for others.  And when we serve others with an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us.       -Wayne Muller

Make no judgments where you have no compassion.       -Anne McCaffrey

Compassion and nonviolence help us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear their questions, to know their assessment of ourselves.  For from their point of view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers and sisters who are called the opposition.       -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Compassion for yourself translates
into compassion for others.

Suki Jay Munsell

When one has compassion for others,
God has compassion for him or her.




The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference.  We have it within our means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.       -Norman Cousins

Spiritual energy brings compassion into the real world.  With compassion, we see benevolently our own human condition and the condition of our fellow beings.  We drop prejudice.  We withhold judgment.       -Christina Baldwin
When we endure our own tragedies or trials, most of us develop some empathy and compassion for others who are suffering.  The trick is to keep that sense of compassion going throughout our daily lives, when we are likely to go on automatic pilot and move back into being judgmental, especially when times are tough.        -Bill O’Hanlon
An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.
   "Could it be," asked one of the students, "when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it's a sheep or a dog?"
   "No," answered the Rabbi.
   Another asked, "Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it's a fig tree or a peach tree?"
   "No," answered the Rabbi.
   "Then what is it?" the pupils demanded.
   "It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother.  Because if you cannot see this, it is still night."

Hasidic Tale

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.       -John Watson

Compassion means that if I see my friend and my enemy in equal need, I shall help them both equally.  Justice demands that we seek and find the stranger, the broken, the prisoner and comfort them and offer them our help.       -Mechtild of Magdeburg

When you're helping, from your limited vantage point, appreciate that person's struggles and suffering yet also respect their privacy and boundaries.  Ascertain with delicacy and care the extent to which your friend may wish to open up and talk.  Don't take responsibility for solving that friend's life; just be there.  Let any feelings of compassion and selflessness come naturally.  Watch your feelings so that, if you feel superior or prideful, you can shush your mind and tell it that it should feel grateful for the opportunity to serve.  For, in serving by doing what you can to alleviate suffering, you are transcending boundaries and glorifying the One Power in us all.   As you give your life to others, compassion grows; and as compassion grows, you become worthier to receive grace.  Grace is what enables you to grow in you divinity and what helps you gain your true life.       -Michael Goddart

Let me explain what we mean by compassion.  Usually, our concept of compassion or love refers to the feeling of closeness we have with our friends and loved ones.  Sometimes compassion also carries a sense of pity.  This is wrong--any love or compassion which entails looking down on the other is not genuine compassion.  To be genuine, compassion must be based on respect for the other, and on the realization that others have the right to be happy and overcome suffering just as much as you.  On this basis, since you can see that others are suffering, you develop a genuine sense of concern for them.

As for the closeness we feel toward our friends, this is usually more like attachment than compassion. Genuine compassion should be

unbiased.  If we only feel close to
our friends, and not to our enemies, or to the countless people who are unknown to us personally and toward whom we are indifferent, then our compassion is only partial or biased.

Genuine compassion is based on the recognition that others have the right to happiness just like yourself, and therefore even your enemy is a human being with the same wish for happiness as you, and the same right to happiness as you.  A sense of concern developed on this basis is what we call compassion; it extends to everyone, irrespective of whether the person's attitude toward you is hostile or friendly.

the Dalai Lama


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.       -the Dalai Lama

God calls all of you to take the path of the inner truth--and that means taking responsibility for everything that's in you:  for what pleases you and for what you're ashamed of, for the rich person inside you and for the poor one.  Francis of Assisi called this, "loving the leper within us."  If you learn to love the poor one within you, you'll discover that you have room to have compassion "outside" too, that there's room in you for others, for those who are different from you, for the least among your brothers and sisters.        -Richard Rohr
One of the ways to learn to "feel with" is to get to know others beyond a superficial level.  When we experience another's life the way he or she experiences it, our world expands and we begin to develop the ability to "feel with."  We develop compassion.       -Anne Wilson Schaef
The truth is, this quality of compassion--and the word means "to suffer with"--has been transforming the world.  And especially in the last century or two.  It was the force that abolished slavery and put an end to child labor.  It was the power that sent Florence Nightingale to Crimea and Albert Schweitzer to Africa.  Mobilized in the March of Dimes, it helped to conquer polio.  Without it there would be no Social Security, no Medicare, no ASPCA, no Red Cross.  But the most remarkable thing about it is what it can do to--and for--the person who feels it deeply.       -Arthur Gordon
When someone accepts your help, that person is giving you a wonderful opportunity.  You're not only helping that person but you also have the opportunity to grow in compassion.  On seeing the suffering of another, you have the opportunity to feel in your heart the suffering of that person.  When your heart softens and you feel compassion for that person, you become more selfless and rise closer to God, your Higher Power, which is complete compassion.       -Michael Goddart
The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves "inside the skin" of the other.  We "go inside" their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another's suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us.  Compassion means, literally, "to suffer with."        -Thich Nhat Hanh
Be understanding and compassionate, but not responsible for others.       -Stephen C. Paul
Everyone alive has suffered.  It is the wisdom gained from our wounds and from our own experiences of suffering that makes us able to heal.  Becoming expert has turned out to be less important than remembering and trusting the wholeness in myself and everyone else.  Expertise cures, but wounded people can best be healed by other wounded people.  Only other wounded people can understand what is needed, for the healing of suffering is compassion, not expertise.       -Rachel Naomi Remen
When you go out into this world, remember:  compassion, compassion, compassion.      -Betty Williams

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