We were at the swimming pool after a swim lesson. I remember that clearly. My daughter, 6, and her 4-year-old bestie were ready for a treat after their long class. It was at least 95 degrees, and we had been there all afternoon. Adults and kids both were fried.
My 2-year-old had wrapped herself around my neck like a giant breathing necklace. My only thoughts were dinner, baths, and bed—before they had a meltdown. As was the swim-lesson ritual, each child had carefully picked out a treat from the vending machine. Skittles at dinnertime, yes, awesome parenting, but hey they were starving.
We were standing around letting the kids air dry and eat their tiny rainbow-colored pieces of gold when it happened. The 4-year-old had accidentally poured her entire bag of candy on the ground, and she was old enough to know that they could not be eaten as such.
We all saw the horror on her sweet face. Yet before we could move, before any tears were shed, before all the adults in the vicinity could become socially awkward, my 6-year-old poured some of her Skittles in the empty bag of the 4-year-old.
Nobody said a word. There were no hero celebrations, no anything. The kids kept talking and laughing without missing a beat. It’s like something they just knew to do. The 4-year-old would’ve done the same for my daughter.
I later asked my daughter how she did that so quickly (without thinking or asking or drama). And she said, “I just knew.” She looked at me like I had 3 heads, truly perplexed I even asked the question.
This beautiful moment was an act of true compassion. We all felt it.
Compassion is an act of knowing that comes from a state of knowing, as my child had described. Compassion is act of the highest good for another person in a specific situation. Compassion is also knowing the highest response for self as well. One will feel this sensation of knowing.
Compassion is not a merely a thought. It is something bigger, more powerful, and more effortless than thoughts.
Compassion comes from an ascended state and one’s authentic state.
Children access these states easily. Many of us will lose this capacity as we age, which is why I was shocked that I did not have to coax the candy from my child’s hands or buy more candy for the other child.
Compassion is not one single act or one single answer, which is why we cannot teach it. We can only teach how to access it. Compassion will be unique to every circumstance.
And unlike this circumstance, many times, compassion does not involve giving or action. A compassionate act may be knowing there is nothing to do for another who is struggling and to take action would not be helpful. Learning to be in the compassionate state guarantees you will know what to do in every situation.
Next week, we will learn why it’s important to wait for the knowing linked with compassion!!