Compassion is the opposite of judgment. instead of blaming someone, it says “I see your pain, my brother, my sister, my beloved. I see your pain.” And of course, one needs to feel that towards oneself as well.
Today, I would like to focus on compassion, because compassion is so important in our lives with others and in our own heart’s relationship to ourselves.
Compassion means that we are aware of suffering, that we care about those who suffer, and that we care about our own suffering and the hardships we experience as well. These hardships may be large or small, but they exist in every life, because every life without exception has challenges in it, places that are hard to live through, and places that require compassion. In order to have a compassionate awareness, one has to live with an open heart that is willing to feel instead of being numb, or indifferent, or avoidant, or in denial.
In order to feel, one has to know that one can bear the feelings. These things go together: the willingness to feel, the sense of capacity, and the desire to live with an open heart.
We sometimes look at the lives of others and say inwardly: “Why can’t I have that life? That life looks much easier than my life.” In truth, we can’t know or judge the difficulty that anyone faces from the outside. It is not possible. But one can be gentle with oneself, and one can say inwardly: “This is really hard, and yet I am going through it, whatever it may be.” The recognition of hardship and the love that surrounds it are the essence of compassion. Compassion surrounds hardship with love, whether it is your own hardship or that of others. The rays of compassion move outward from the heart and inward from the heart. They envelop the pain of others and one’s own pain and make it easier to bear. They hold the pain gently and with love so that it is never left alone, so that those in pain are not left alone and one’s own suffering is not left alone, denied, pushed away, or rejected.
We need to understand that there is nothing in life that happens by accident, and that all of life is a teaching, whether hard or easy. We especially need compassion for those who have lost their way, for those who have lost contact with their own hearts, and who have become, as a result, incapable of recognizing that they are behaving in ways that are against life. We need compassion for those who have forgotten their humanity, their love, their hearts that connect them with others.
In a way, compassion is the opposite of judgment. instead of blaming someone, it says “I see your pain, my brother, my sister, my beloved. I see your pain.” And of course, one needs to feel that towards oneself as well.
The rays of compassion are healing balm for all embodied beings. They go out everywhere and touch everything.
We live in a world in which there is much suffering, and so we can walk around in a state of anger and blame, or in a state of hopelessness. Or we can walk around in a state of love and compassion, and endeavor to uplift those who are feeling anger and the pain that lies beneath it, or hopelessness and the pain that lies beneath that. To see what is beneath anger allows us to not become embroiled in it, but to uplift it.
Think of a mistake that you have made, or behavior that you would like to erase, something that you wish you could do over. Now, direct your heart’s compassion to that behavior or that mistake. Feel the pain that caused it, perhaps the self-doubt, perhaps the sense of hopelessness or the presence of fear. Let that mistake be surrounded by your own compassion.
Each of us is able to make a choice about how we wish to live. We can live with judgment and seeing what is` wrong with everyone and with the world, or we can live with compassion and see what the world and individuals are trying to become. They may be doing this haltingly, with limitation, with difficulty, but still, they are trying to become something. Compassion allows us to tolerate imperfection and limitation in ourselves and others. It holds all limitation and imperfection in love.
There are many people, and you may be among them, who would like to help the suffering of the world, but who feel that they are not big enough, or important enough, or competent enough to do what is needed. Your heart is big enough to hold more than you presently think you can. Your divine heart is capable of holding love for the entire world. From that place of joining with your deeper self, you can bring compassion instead of judgment to the world that is so badly in need of it. When you feel that you can’t do much of anything to change conditions around you, remember your heart and compassion because the rays of compassion are healing balm for all embodied beings. They go out everywhere, and touch everything that is in pain or in hardship. The rays of compassion touch every heart and uplift every being.
May you sense your own capacity and know that you can serve the world by loving it, by bringing to it your love instead of your judgement. May this be your prayer and your increased knowledge of why you are here.