Critical Compassion

Compassion is critical

Since we can never know what another person has experienced, compassion should be our guide and standard, to the best of our capability and capacity. We can never know when a person may have experienced more harm and is more fragile than ourselves, and we do not know what our actions and words may trigger or reinforce or cause fresh harm.

As painful as the slings and arrows are to bear of our own, we do not know when we reach out with open hand or closed fist, what the person our hand approaches has experienced – can they absorb or withstand the strike, will they reach back with openness or escalation or submission?

Whatever condition we find ourselves in or being consumed by, there will be people in more difficult states, struggling along, it is putting aside our own miseries and concerns, that is compassion, to ease, give comfort, or even acknowledge the suffering of others, as they see their suffering – paramount, insurmountable, without relief – that we can put aside our own and give a measure of succor and relief – an understanding nod, a knowing look, a touch, a hug, a full body embrace – a moment to stand as one and proclaim, you are not alone.

To share for a moment the misery, so you two can stand in strength of companionship to fend off, face down and to turn the suffering aside, to flow as lava until it can find its new level and cool, ceasing the consumption of the one.

Compassion is the balm that eases the mind and spirit, that sets aside hurts and puts harm in perspective and the past.

Compassion allows us to see beyond impact and behaviours to the person, to set aside what harms they might have wrought or be continuously doing, not to know their motivation, but to put aside even that, to allow that the person may well not know their own motivation, but to know that something dark is driving them, and to forgive them for their hurts and not hold the hurts they cause against them, but rather, to show them that they do not drive away the dark by spreading it to others as that only encloses more people in the dark abyss.

But compassion is forgiveness without conditions, acceptance of self and others as equally deserving, that is the light that pushes back the dark to the abyss – that is the light that we each have the capacity for – our willingness to allow our light to shine is shaped by our individual experiences and awareness; but we do a disservice if we allow those experiences to withhold our light. If we allow what has been done to us to convert us to darkness by now letting our lights shine.

There is much that is unfair, cruel and dark in the world, and it’s scalable from person on person crime on up to country vs country or people vs people – and if that is to change in the larger, world, then it has to start with a person here and there and everywhere who will stand up against the dark and say, no more darkness, no more cruelty, no more separation, we stand alone until we stand as one.

But in the darkness, we can see all the lone lights, and know that we are not alone, there are more in the darkness, as a beacon, as a model of the behaviour we seek to see in the world, we stand alone and hold back the darkness, until we all stand as one with no dark separation.