It’s such a broad subject, it really is. How can I break it down?
I’ll try to keep it simple like it is with all common sense. Having compassion is in fact, common sense.
Your first onslaught of compassion has to start with yourself. Having compassion for yourself has to always come first. If it doesn’t, you’ll get burnout. You get burnout because the literal definition of compassion in which we all abide by, is not actually the same compassion that ayahuasca taught me.
Real compassion is an overflowing well that never runs dry. It’s true awareness and it’s the only thing that’s real in the world.
People think of compassion as being pity and sympathy – having the desire to help others in need. But what it actually is, is clarity and awareness.
Empathy is perception – what you feel when you feel what others feel.
Compassion is perspective – how your brain interprets what you’re feeling.
Empathy is reacting, while compassion is acting.
Empathy is not clarity or awareness, but how your brain interprets empathy, is.
That is what compassion is.
You have to have common sense, and common sense requires you to have impartial objectivity. Like when a judge administers a solution or punishment, they have impartial objectivity. And if they’re a good judge, often their solutions are common sense. They are common sense solutions that your ego and attached subjectivity wouldn’t allow you to see.
The more you involve your ego, the less clarity and compassion you have.
When you have compassion for yourself, this includes having impartial objectivity. It’s an abolishment of your ego, your pride, and a letting go of control. It’s like eliminating a blockage. You feel light instead of weighed down. I hate sounding preachy here, but it really feels like opening your heart to God.
Meditate on this and I swear I’m not full of it. You’ll see it for yourself! But you do have to meditate on it – really think about it.
It’s only difficult when you can’t get past your ego. When you can’t let go of control, when you can’t forgive yourself because there’s “nothing to forgive,” there’s a blockage. And where there is a blockage, there’s no clarity, and where there’s no clarity, you seek the guidance of an impartial judge. Someone who’s able to tell you what to think and believe because you’re unable to clearly justify things for yourself.
You either seek an impartial judge, or escape the situation by dismissing it as nothing. You dismiss the things that challenge your ego. It’s not a letting go, but avoidance and denial.
It’s not evolving yourself away from certain people and things, it’s devolving yourself to protect your ego.
When you have no compassion for yourself, you’ll not have it for anyone else. Why?
If you can’t clearly see yourself, you won’t be able to clearly see others (your illusory ego gets tangled in theirs). You can pity them, feel it’s your job to help them, but this kind of “help” comes from your subjective attached ego. You care so much, give so much – but you’re only weakening your compassion, not strengthening it.
You give because you care, but you care only with your ego – of filling the void where your faith should be. It’s not letting go of control, it’s the opposite.
“Okay, I have no idea what you’re talking about as usual, but aside from that, can you at least give me a clear definitive definition of what compassion is? I mean, since you seem to know it all.”
Oh man I knew you were going to ask me that. That’s the imperative question after all.
“So what is it then smart ass?”
It’s when you have belief and faith in others. When you trust them. It’s not about feeding them your energy to deplete it, it’s about getting them to regain their own faith so they can believe in themselves.
When you stop playing the role of “savior,” and start acting with your heart instead of your ego – humbling yourself to see strength in others, you’ll truly start seeing their strength. Strength that you gave them by knowing they had it all along.
When you believe (have faith in God, let go of attachments and fear [stuff I already wrote in-depth about]) in yourself, you’ll start believing in others and accepting them for who they are. Faults and all.
I know it’s hard to understand. It’s hard because we attach the wrong meanings to words. The words we use to think with dictate our understanding. And because of this, we have limited understanding. It’s important to think with your heart. The heart understands what the mind cannot. Words are finite with vague meanings, the heart is infinite with definitive meaning. Only, you can’t put any of it in words (this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try).
“I’m stuck on what you said earlier. About how compassion never runs out. What happens when you get tired?”
You won’t get tired so long as you let go and let God. God is limitless compassion.
“But what about burn victims? People with leprosy, disfigurements, mental retardation – people who need constant care and will never live dependently on their own? I don’t care how never-ending you say your compassion is, you’ll physically wear yourself out by caring for others. It’s inescapable and unavoidable.”
You certainly know how to ask the tough questions, don’t you?
“It’s my job.”
“I mean, you’re sitting here in the middle of the day laying in bed with your high-tech Mac laptop on your lap, you’re thinking about taking a nap – don’t deny it, I always know what you’re thinking. And you’re talking nonsense like you know what compassion is. You’re sitting here doing nothing. Your major concern is saving money and paying off your debt. You only care about yourself and you know it.”
Okay okay calm down. Geez….
“So tell me then, how can you help people who have special needs children who need constant attention? How is believing in your child going to fix their blindness or deafness or their feeble 2-year-old IQ? Merely believing in someone isn’t going to change their diaper.”
I understand all that. And yeah, it sucks. But like with all things, you have to get to the root of the problem. You have to figure out why you’re miserable and you can’t blame it on the special needs of a child.
“They’re not miserable. They’re just worn out is all. They have no time for themselves and they’re sacrificing their lives to care for another. If that’s not compassion than I don’t know what is.”
They need to take time for themselves.
They need to accept things and not fight it.
“So you want them to let go of their dreams then?”
“Melanie you big pompous buffoon. Until you’re living in someone else’s shoe’s, don’t act like you know everything.”
I don’t, I mean, I’m not. But if you think about why these givers are unhappy, then there’s got to be a solution somewhere.
“Okay then, what is it?”
People want their lives to have meaning (because of their fear of death [but I won’t get into that]). And the only way our lives won’t feel meaningless, is for us to not feel alone (this is also because of our fear of death [it’s where ego comes from, hence we all have it]).
Caring for someone can feel isolating. If you feel isolated, your life will feel meaningless. If it feels meaningless, you will blame the cards you’ve been dealt because we dismiss anything that challenges our ego.
“You’re talking in evasive riddles.”
The best solution is to embrace your community. Send out a community newsletter to all your neighbors explaining your situation before they have the chance to judge you and ostracize your child.
The solution is to know that you are not alone. Talk to others who are going through a similar situation. Keep them close in your life. Trust they are there going through the same thing.
The situations we face are brought to us by the universe (by karma), to show us what real compassion is. Compassion is not having a fear of death. It’s elimination of ego. Elimination of fear to teach us awareness and God.
Every situation we encounter is a lesson at teaching us how to let go. It’s all for a reason.
Compassion teaches us transcendental love. You don’t want to take care of people because you have to, or that it’s your obligation – you take care of them because you want to. Believing in your child will only herald your desire to help them and want to be with them.
This can only be done (transcendental love), when you let go of your ego. When love (compassion) outweighs your own needs. When you want nothing in return. When you stop placing blame. When you stop facing the guilt of your ineptitude for not possessing transcendental love.
“You can make things as wordy and colorfully confusing as you like, but you can’t skirt around the fact that it IS tiring.”
Many hands make light work. Embrace the community, enroll in government programs – there is a way. There is a solution.
Damn this post was a lot harder to write than I thought. There goes my trying to keep it simple….
Compassion is accepting that you are not perfect. It’s accepting other people’s imperfections.
“Well Melanie, I can say with fervent conviction, that you are definitely not perfect. You’re an egomaniac who thinks she knows everything.”
Well at least I’m trying to figure shit out.
That experience I had with the shamans made me see that there’s more to life than meets the eye. Everything happens for a reason and shit happens so we can evolve. We evolve ourselves by getting closer to and understanding God.
I’m not trying to be an egomaniac spewing out nonsensical ramblings to make myself sound grand or epic. I would loathe myself if I did!
“Okay well, I believe you. I only believe you because I AM you. Just remember to not get too ahead of yourself. Keep it real and keep it honest. Don’t assume anything especially when you have no experience with certain matters. You’ll only be kidding yourself and pissing people off.”
Yes I know. I know the drill. Real and honest. Got it.
Whew. Damn you brain. Why aren’t you normal?
- Compassion (longley81.wordpress.com)
- Compassion Cultivation Training: Read How One Teacher Is Creating A More Compassionate World (ucsdcfm.wordpress.com)
- Compassion (wonderfultips.wordpress.com)
- What Does Compassion Sound Like? (maximiliancarstensen.wordpress.com)
- EGO less (happybodymind.wordpress.com)
- Is Your Ego Master or Servant? (elephantjournal.com)