• July 9, 2016

    In my previous post, I explored the process of loss of self, called relinquishing, which enables compassion to arise. I did not describe the experience of compassion. This comment from a group member takes the next step.

    “Compassion overcomes me when I witness another being trying to bear their suffering bravely.

    I am humbled by their bravery. Their act calls forth from somewhere deep within me a sincere prayer that they may find the strength to carry their burden. Their courage asks me to be brave in the face of hardships. This feeling enters like a wind and fills up all the spaces without words. Inner babble is silenced. Somehow their suffering unlocks what good is held in me and I become the receiver of this feeling of compassion which seems to encompass love, pain and respect touching softly in the heart.”

    This insight implies a distinction between compassion and other forms of sympathy such as pity. Compassion is incited by the capacity, or at least the attempt, to bear suffering bravely, without complaint.

    The person who made the previous comment also wrote:

    “When someone tries to use their circumstances to illicit and manipulate pity, I may feel guilt at my seemingly more privileged circumstances but I also experience resentment that I am simply someone to be used.

    When I try to use my own circumstances to obtain attention and pity, I lose the possibility of being touched by what I might actually be able to suffer.”