Monday, June 21, 2010

1. The Difficulty of Compassion

OK, we’ve all been told what a wonderful and noble and good thing Compassion is.
 In fact some have called Jesus, ”the Lord of Compassion”, some call Buddah this.
Well I’m going to put a whole new slant on this, and also acknowledge this aspect of humanity, and the difficulties it brings to those who …. Are Compassionate.
First lets get this word, ”compassion” defined for this discussion here, as there are as many ideas in folks minds about what this is….as there are folks to think about it, so lets be concise.   Com = with and Passion= a strong emotional feeling. Does that sound about Right. This is what it means: a sharing of a strong emotion. We understand another persons feelings; we “feel” for them.  And the thing about compassion is we can feel it on such deep levels, we can feel compassion for the Earth, or for all living things…Many compassionate people become involved in humanitarian and ecological endeavors. Many of the most compassionate people I know are what you’d call radical warriors for their causes. Many of them feel such a deep pain for things that they feel compassion with; that are being hurt in some way generally by the foolishness of other humans.  These people on one level we could call Heroes, but on another level we can call them weak fools.
Now I’m gonna tell you the hard truth about, ”Compassion”.

Once upon a time in a bog a man fell into some quicksand.
He could not get free, and very very slowly he was sinking.
One day a stranger was passing by and the sinking man called out to him for help.
And this stranger was a very compassionate man
He knew what it was like to be sinking slowly in quicksand…
He felt deeply the sinking mans fear, because he had known that himself in the past.
And being a compassionate man he dove in the quicksand to save the man.
In fact he didn’t have to dive in,
it sort of just magically happened as soon as he identified with the other mans fear..
And now there were two men sinking in the bog.
Well there must have been a lot of compassionate folks in the nearby town because before long there were ten compassionate men sinking there together….
All drowning in the same fear.   (All together with each others strong emotion)
But then a man with no compassion whatsoever came walking by
They all cried out to him to save them
He walked over to the edge of the quicksand, but wasn’t magically pulled in like the others had been, as soon as they identified with the others fear… Rather he just stood there, looked the situation over, grabbed a big stick…and one by one pulled the drowning men from the quicksand.

OK, what is the moral of this story ?

If one man is lost in the darkness of their fear
Being “with them” (compassionate) in that darkness
Removes our ability to be any real assistance to them.
Passion is emotion, in fact you could define passion as a very strong emotion.
Com-passion implies jumping into another’s “strong emotion” possibly to help them out.
I’ve heard it said that sharing it makes it less….
It doesn’t, where there was one person suffering some form of “darkness”
Now there are two….
What’s the point of that.
When we “share a strong emotion”
Which is a real good concise definition of Compassion
It does not reduce it…
It doubles it.
It’s jumping in to the quicksand, to save a drowning man.
Nobody benefits.
But if you can stand alongside your brother who might be drowning in some fear or whatever..
And if you can stand there, and remain silent….and open your heart…..
You just might be able to save them.
But never with compassion do you really succeed in helping another.
You know there is another name for the Lords of Compassion
“Drama Kings and Queens….”
These are some of the most compassionate folks.
Compassion ties us to emotions within ourselves,
that have roots deep in our past.
We are bound to our past,
through our compassion.
It's best to be totally present when we are interacting in our world.
Compassion makes this impossible...

Replace your Compassion
With Love
Then you can really be of Service….

So you with the pamphlet standin at my door,
 don’t be sellin me your, ”Lord of Compassion”….
You can come back when your selling the “Lord of Love”.

And to you wonderful folks out there doing all that compassionate work to save the world…
Getting all worked up about what is wrong with the world…
what’s being done to the plants and animals and humans and planet.
As soon as you “get all worked up”,
you have lost the battle and instead of being a useful “warrior” for a cause,
you have become a casualty…..
You can’t help when you are drowning in “an intense emotion”
When you are “Being with” passion
you become part of the problem...not part of the solution.
 Rather Be with Love
Be at Peace..
And become useful…
Compassion and Love can not exist in the same place at the same time…
Love is from the heart….
Emotion from the head and belly
Totally different bodily centers…
Love is a quiet eternal thing
Passion is a noisy whirling tornado
Again I’ll say,
Replace “Being with Passion”
With Love.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post Jeff, and you hit it so right on. I grew up with a mother who worked as a mental health therapist, who dealt with intense human sitations on a daily basis, while maintaining a healthy, professional removal from the situations. So I never learned the whole compassionate, jump right in to the swirling vortex of drama, response. I learned how to just be there with someone having a hard time and still maintain my own well being. After all, you can't really be of use if you're sinking right along with them!



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