The rigorous nature of life is such that it is does not seem to be content with just placating our need for comfort and favour but somehow arranges for a modicum of difficulty and suffering to balance the ledger of our becoming.
Suffering is an uncomfortable concept, one laced with anxiety and uncertainty, an awkward suitor who courts our maturation as if to suggest we need its intimacy in order to experience transformation and fulfilment.
Compassion is the salve that softens the blow of suffering, tenderly caring for our wounded-ness by providing a support network of sympathy and empathy that underpins our condition. Compassion incarnates in our fellow humans when they have noticed our plight and have come rushing to aid as if to mirror their own need for help, in a act of mutual respect and dignification.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
― Mother Teresa
When we forget that we belong to a greater collective of existential need it diminishes the mutual solicitude that is on offer. The compassion that I need is hiding in the fabric of another waiting for its opportunity to action and to contribute to my health necessity, and the compassion that others need is an occasion for my kindness to make its mark. Conversely we need to remember that belonging to the people business can come with its own challenges, one being ‘compassion fatigue’, where an imbalance between giving and receiving can often occur. Even the great divine humanitarian JC had to find space to recover from the overbearing needs that constantly requested his attention. Compassion needs breathing room. A sacred restorative well of refreshment that reinstates balance and sleep is the magical potion that provides us with the respite we need from our over-responsible selves.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
The battles I find myself entrenched in, while mostly self-inflicted, can be really overwhelming and all consuming often exaggerating the moment to the point where I end up drowning in self pity and self-absorbed unhappiness. Why is nobody noticing my need, why is nobody rushing to my aid and delivering me from my dilemma, as if my predicament is way more serious and significant than others? Truth be told it is important and weighty and does need the balm of loving concern which will eventually find its way to me, but in the meantime I need to momentarily break free of my myopic self absorption and find a broader spectrum of reference that brings a new balance of internal equilibrium. I am not the centre of the universe, much to my chagrin, which goes to the core of my insecurity and morality.
“Compassion is the basis of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer
Compassion is more than the proactive engagement towards meeting another's need, it also has a mysterious transformational agenda that works in the human psyche to profoundly shape our morality. When we give our deepest empathetic self away virtue emerges exposing our true potentiality to those around us.
When you feel the angst of the human condition or the state of the world in general, take a breath and know that the universe is working for your betterment.
You covered up that place I could not master
It wasn't dark enough to shut my eyes
So I was with you, O sweet compassion
Yes I was with you, O sweet compassion