Adversity = Empathy = Compassion
…or can do, if we don’t claim to be a victim or blame others.
Of course we are victims and we can blame others,
but that is merely part of path-journey-uncovering.
The difference depends on whether we see ourselves as human beings
or spiritual beings in a human body.
We are suffering, although we may not notice. This is precisely what the nine yanas/levels are all about. Each level is satisfying until suddenly it isn’t, and then we notice that our understanding is incomplete – and there is that, albeit subtle, suffering again…thank goodness!
If things are going well for us and we are well adjusted to our life, then we have probably – definitely – missed the point. We have become probably – definitely – f***ed up! The Buddha’s first noble truth is recognising that we are suffering…and so are others.
I once said to my teacher, “I have empathy for those who suffer, and compassion for those who are happy”, with which he agreed, as he understood that I meant superficial happiness.
When we experience suffering of some sort we can then, as a spiritual beings, empathise with others who are experiencing the same sort of suffering. We are therefore able to be compassionate towards them. We know how it feels. We know, as spiritual beings, that sentient life is one of suffering precisely because, as ordinary beings, we ignore our true nature. We are ordinary beings when we are out of pure awareness; we may know clever things but we are still ordinary.
And so, when someone says they are happy, it’s a bit of a cover up. As sentient beings, we all say all sorts of things 😉
We do not get empathy and compassion from books. Spiritual awareness is born from recognising suffering. Once a problem has been identified then a solution can be found. The Buddha clearly saw this for himself when he stepped outside his palace and came into contact with old age, sickness and death.
We experience traumas, from the subtle to the deep, which leave an imprint on the mind. The deeper we understand this, the subtle our ability to deal with it.
Every day we read about the pain and pleasures of others and if we are not mindful, this same pain and pleasure can have an effect on us as well. The cause of our suffering is distraction.
Life is adversity,
Adversity is our path.
Path is our confusion.
May confusion dawn as wisdom!