Compassion. It’s a buzzword of the spiritual elite and the only word most psychologists get really excited about. The word itself appeared around the mid-1300s, so it’s not a new concept; yet in the real world, there are very few people speaking of compassion. One rarely hears parents in parks reminding their children to be more compassionate. For me, personally, compassion is a word whose meaning was completely elusive most of my life.
All I can say is that, somehow, we know compassion is really important, yet we do not seem to be very compassionate as a whole. The idea of compassion is much like many human ideologies—everyone has heard of it in some context or another—however, most really awesome people stumble at defining or practicing compassion.
If you were to Google compassion, you’d discover that it’s a complex emotion with varying definitions. Really. It’s true. According to one definition, compassion is a feeling of profound sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Some religious definitions describe compassion not as sympathy, but as empathy with a twist of altruism. Other definitions suggest that compassion is a form of emotional co-suffering.
Perhaps the most universal definition I could find suggests that compassion is the emotion we feel in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire within us to ease their suffering.
This is a beautiful thought, that we are hard-wired to help others when they are suffering. However, none of these definitions, though beautiful and hopeful, is what I’ve come to know as compassion.
To understand true compassion, we must consider the paradox created by its definition(s). Ask yourself, how does the universe provide us the concept of bliss and ask us to be blissful—which most will agree is our authentic state—in a world where there is hunger, disease, and suffering? How is that not selfish?
I mean, even if we helped all the people we could every moment of every day, there would still be suffering. Our every definition of compassion points to the idea that our highest self is designed to feel co-suffering, or empathy. How does this work? To be blissful and to suffer? It is impossible?
I now know why it is difficult to define compassion. To be compassionate is to be Christ, Buddha—a highly ascended being—and your authentic self. Our definitions fall short of a true understanding of compassion because we all exist in different states of being.
True compassion does not resemble the dictionary definitions as co-suffering, nor any emotions such as empathy or sympathy. True compassion is simply the refection of the authentic self toward others. It is the posture of an ascended being in Zero State (perfect balance).
In Zero, there is only bliss. Compassion is profoundly neutral, peaceful, blissful. There is no suffering we are to share with those who suffer. In fact, how would that be helpful? Maybe it is profoundly hopeful to dare to match hopelessness and suffering with acceptance and hopefulness.
We don’t really want anyone to actually agree that our life is terrible and there’s no way out. This is why the sun is immovable in the sky regardless of your state. You’ve been given all the power, all the gifts. You’ve simply forgotten. Compassion says: “I’m here, I see, you got this; when you’re ready, get up.”
True compassion is the divine and authentic posture we practice toward others who are temporarily out of balance. Perhaps the highest maneuver is to practice compassion with ourselves when we ourselves are out of balance. It is not pity, nor sadness, nor sorrow. It cannot be faked. It is the magic, complementary elixir to every situation. It’s the perfect, powerful response of the universe in every context.
Authentic self knows all suffering is self-created and self-healed. Any emotion you feel towards another person’s suffering—whether it be sympathy, empathy, or the definitions you’ve learned as compassion—is your pain being awakened through another person’s situation.
The universal desire to help others—the discomfort you recognize as empathy or sympathy or compassion for them—is designed to help you discover and resolve your pain. This emotional pull and desire to help them is suffering that you may or may not yet recognize in yourself as a trigger of the deep past. Your ego is choosing to feel and ease suffering in the form of serving the world and others.
Soon, you may be able to recognize the discomfort you feel towards others as something that needs to be healed in yourself as well. This is a universal win-win and another beautiful example of the benevolence of the universe. We are learning to heal ourselves by choosing to help others with issues of self we do not perceive yet.
However, the misstep of the ego lies in the concept that we can ease the suffering of others. As we discussed last week, we can only heal ourselves. What we only learn from empathy is that all suffering is curable, because we hear the cures—we know again. Yet it is up to us to honor the answers.
So, how do we become compassionate to ourselves and others? What does that even look like? The way to become blissful, zeroed, and authentic, is to master true compassion toward others. Yes, I just told you, others need nothing from you and you may not change them.
It is here we arrive full circle indeed, beginning and ending at nothing.
The practice of compassion is about your own enlightenment and ascension, not others’. Compassion is our highest practice in all relationships. It is the door to the Universe, the Divine Posture, Nothing, which is everything.
Compassion is the posture you practice that can open the door for others as well—if they choose. The practice of compassion is the practice of becoming blissful and staying blissful when all others exist in various states of suffering.
This practice is a deeply personal, deeply sacred challenge on which we are all asked to embark. How do we practice compassion when we cannot agree on its definition? The good news is that it is the only thing you’re ever trying to do because you know this is the route home.
You will begin the practice of true compassion, as defined by all the definitions you can compile from the internet. All of us upon spiritual awakening will feel the desire to serve someone because we witness or feel them suffering. Thus begins the universal call home; this desire begins the process of true compassion.
As we begin the practice of serving the world, wonderful and magical things will occur, yet step one in this is like stepping in cow manure: stinky and gross. We touched on this last week when talking about empathy.
Step one when you serve others is that your judgment about their existence will show up. This will be your ego telling your mind you are not like them, which is also why you feel comfortable serving them. As you serve them, you will feel pain that you correlate with their situation. How, though, can someone else’s situation cause you pain? Hmm…
You will continue serving them until you deem it time to stop because they’ve not changed in a timely manner (another judgment) or serving them makes them worse (another judgment) and you give up.
Many times, the pain you feel when serving others quickly changes from empathy for them to judgment of them when they do not respond as you’d predicted. The judgment returns when you decide they no longer need your empathy.
Serving people is about healing yourself as much is it is healing them. It is always a win-win. As you serve, your judgments will change as you evolve through their circumstances. However, this is not the goal of serving others.
The goal of serving others is to see yourself and life and the things you don’t understand about yourself in them. This is the requisite step in healing enlightenment, which is understanding how their pain inspires you to help them.
Many will never make this step and the many steps subsequent to that step required for your pain and situation to be as important as theirs.
To enlighten, 0ne must make the shift from the denial of bodily discomfort, which is manifested as empathy or judgment toward another person, to allowing the pain of others to be associated with the beliefs and judgments and circumstances of your life. The pain in your body is not about them, only about you.
In fact, experts will agree that the feeling of empathy is the feeling of “me too.” Another clue is that you find yourself in pain while witnessing someone else’s world. It is the pain created from your own world that you are denying.
Judgment through an empathetic, sympathetic, or “compassionate” response to others is about the justification of your pain through someone else’s circumstances. Judgement is resistance to your own healing (and others’) manifested in the mind.
Yet the elegance of the universe is found here as well, because the exact things you notice and are aiding others with is where you need growth in your own life, though these issues usually appear dramatically different in your own life. We are witnessing our problems and solutions before we realize they are our problems!
By the way, this is perhaps the most effective psychological treatment method we know to date—mirroring. One practice of psychologists is to mirror, to rephrase and repeat your story back to you, so that you can shift to the observer, an enlightened posture. Because the psychologist is speaking, your mind thinks it’s someone else’s problem, and you become the problem solver.
Many times our own circumstances are too frightening to openly acknowledge, so we will help others in order to ultimately teach ourself how to help ourself. Again, a benevolent win-win.
The goal of all practices of compassion is to awaken the pain, understand it, and release it, so that you can unearth your destiny.
Your destiny is so important to you that the universe has manifested every pain as the same pain, every interaction as the perfect interaction, for you to find it.
Your destiny is so important to you that the universe has manifested every pain as the same pain, every interaction as the perfect interaction, for you to find it, manifested uniquely in each of us.
This is where we are all being led, and the door is compassion, in which the pain of the body transforms into the wisdom you’ve denied thus far. This is the door that opens into instant forgiveness and karmic neutrality.
This is where the good stuff is—the magic, the bliss—a different world entirely. You will feel as you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into a universe that a human cannot describe with words. Yet words come alive in this world. Every letter and word has infinite meaning.
We are on the way. Feel free to check out my post entitled, Are Empathy and Compassion the Same? https://danadrake.com/uncategorized/are-empathy-and-compassion-the-same-a-treatise