Impulses: Virtues (Part IV)

Now this one is a beautiful virtue, and very common in different religions or spiritualities. Certainly not as difficult to wrap your head around as humility, but still maybe something to think about for a minute. We’re talking about…


~ Compassion ~

“Compassion allows you to have true love, not only for others, but also for yourself. It allows you to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. It’s also the ability to have deep feelings and concern for the misfortune and suffering of others. Compassion allows you to share another’s pain, gives you the desire to relieve it, and the willingness to act on that desire.” ~ thelma

Isn’t that beautiful? Well, it’s

also scary and it hurts. When you share and feel others’ pain, that means you’ll have even more pain than you already had in your heart anyway. It can overwhelm you completely if you learn about the murders and injustice and humiliation of people and animals and ecosystems all over the world.

I remember a discussion we had at school in Religious Studies. It was about suffering, where it came from and why and how we deal with it. And I remember feeling overwhelmed again, this time not in a negative way though. “But just, I don’t know… if you just look out there, at the world… It’s so beautiful and grand,” I said.
My teacher replied, “But there is all this destruction and crime out there. How could you look out there and be happy?”
And I couldn’t answer, because at that moment I didn’t have the words for it. (And to be honest, I didn’t quite try because most of the others in the course didn’t seem to me like they could understand.)

Nowadays I find the right words a little bit better: This is really what I love so much about this world – it’s so grand. Everything moves, because the scales are always in motion, balancing. That’s majestic. It goes up and down and that’s so powerful and, yes, it’s scary, and, yes, it’s beautiful. And that’s what brings compassion (or maybe it’s interactive): beginning to realise our place in these scales, and realising and feeling this very grandeur.

Now I’d like to quote something else, which covers very well “where I come from”.

“When we start to understand that the Earth is alive, she calls to us to preserve her life. When we understand that everything is interconnected, we are called to a politics and set of actions that come from compassion, from the ability to literally feel with all living beings on the Earth. That feeling is the ground upom which we can build community and come together and take action and find direction.” ~ Starhawk

And there’s just one more thing I’ve read today, something simple, really – and with that I’ll leave you – “We rise by lifting others.” Which implies being compassionate about them first.
I’ve had a discussion with a friend recently, about competition. He said that competition makes us become better. Well, yes, kind of, though I believe that pushing others down doesn’t make us better, it just makes them look worse. (And us too, actually…)

Well, I do hope I’ve provided you with some impulses!


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