path of compassion leads to the development of insight. But
doesn't work to say, "Ready, set, go! Be
compassionate!" Beginning any practice depends on intention. Intention depends on
least a little bit--the suffering inherent in the human condition
pain we feel, and cause, when we act out of confusion. It
on trusting--at least a little bit--in the possibility of a contented, satisfied mind.
extend the circle of our compassion to
all living things, we will not ourselves find peace.
is the ultimate and most
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.
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.
Compassion is a foundation for sharing our
aliveness and building a more human world.
is the basis of all morality. -Arthur Schopenhauer
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
or the women who wake up early to make tortillas in refugee camps.
They all weep for their children and in their compassionate tears
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
Compassion for others
comes naturally as you recognize your own limitations.
-Stephen C. Paul
Gandhi wisely points out, even as we serve others we are working
on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine
naturally nourishes our own hearts as well. It is not a
question of who is
healed first. When we attend to ourselves with compassion
more healing is made available for others. And when we serve
an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us.
|Make no judgments where
you have no 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
of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow
from the wisdom of the brothers and sisters who are called the
Luther King, Jr.
Compassion for yourself translates
compassion for others.
Suki Jay Munsell
When one has compassion for others,
has compassion for him or her.
individual is capable of both great compassion
and great indifference. We have it within our means
to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.
energy brings compassion into the real world. With
we see benevolently our own human condition and the condition
of our fellow beings. We drop prejudice. We withhold
judgment. -Christina Baldwin
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.
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
"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
kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.
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
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
and what helps you gain your true life.
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
the closeness we feel toward our friends, this is usually
more like attachment than compassion. Genuine compassion
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
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.
you want others to be
happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy,
practice compassion. -the
calls all of you to take the path of the inner truth--and that
means taking responsibility for everything that's in you:
pleases you and for what you're ashamed of, for the rich person
inside you and for the poor one. Francis of Assisi called
"loving the leper within us." If you learn to
love the poor one
within you, you'll discover that you have room to have
"outside" too, that there's room in you for others,
for those who are
different from you, for the least among your brothers and
of the ways to learn to "feel with" is to get to know
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
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
a wonderful opportunity. You're not only helping that
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
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.
essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability
the physical, material, and psychological suffering
others, to put ourselves
"inside the skin" of the
other. We "go inside"
their body, feelings, and mental
formations, and witness for
their suffering. Shallow observation
as an outsider is not
to see their suffering. We must become one with
our observation. When we are in contact with another's
a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, "to suffer with."
Be understanding and
but not responsible for others.
-Stephen C. Paul
alive has suffered. It is the wisdom gained from our
and from our own experiences of suffering that makes us able to
Becoming expert has turned out to be less important than
trusting the wholeness in myself and everyone else.
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
you go out into this world, remember: compassion,
compassion, compassion. -Betty Williams
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