What Is Compassion?
Compassion is having the ability to empathise, to understand how another is feeling – and why – because we have been there and done that. We have all made mistakes in the past because we are all mistaken about our reality. We believed – and still do – that our status, our standing in society, will make us happy, and we want to be recognised for our cleverness. We’ve all been there and done that.
A good heart knows that this is not the complete picture. True compassion knows that we all have the absolute potential of knowing our absolute reality, beyond deluded cleverness. We need compassion for the deluded! I am deluded!
Compassion is allowing the space of intelligence and a good heart to gain the courage to see. To see what? To see how we operate and what drives us. In recognising this, we begin to open up: it’s uncomfortable and we feel guilty, but we start to breath in fresh air!
Which of us is without fault?
We need compassion for our past actions and regret for having wasted time, and so, when we see others engaged in such activity, we know how it feels if we are honest – and so, we can empathise. We’ve been there and done that – and we ask ourselves if we are still doing it. If we’re criticising, then we are still caught up in our social standing.
Accepting someone ‘warts and all’* – now that’s unconditional love. If we can accept ourselves ‘warts and all’, then we have the perfect qualities required to be compassionate.
*This phrase is said to derive from Oliver Cromwell’s instructions to the painter Sir Peter Lely, when commissioning a portrait: “Paint me as I am, warts and all!”