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Excerpts about Compassion

A Deeper Level of Compassion Might Not Look Compassionate to Someone Else or to the External World

AH: It is. It’s more objective. In the beginning, a person could have the green center open and feel compassion toward everybody all the time. That’s fine. Most of the time it’s good. However, what comes at a deeper level, the more objective level, is that you recognize when you need to be emotionally compassionate toward somebody and when it’s better not to be. You can become very ruthless in this objectivity and in your truth, and you might not even feel that compassionate, but it is still a deeper level of compassion. It’s the compassion that transcends the feeling of compassion. It’s the compassion of action then. In the beginning, people take compassion to mean the feeling of wanting to alleviate the person’s pain or take it away from them. A deeper level of compassion is taking action whether you feel inclined to or not. The third level of compassion could include hurting somebody or not taking their pain away when you see it. Sometimes they need the pain to learn something about themselves. They may need it to learn about compassion. If you take away people’s hurt, they won’t learn how to be compassionate. We also said the most objective compassion has to do with truth. Whether the person feels hurt or doesn’t feel hurt is immaterial. The point is truth, the golden truth. The real energy of compassion toward yourself, the real attitude of trust toward yourself transcends pain and pleasure. It’s truth. What you finally trust is the truth—the truth in yourself, in somebody else, or in the situation. Truth as such. Compassion has to be according to the truth and for the truth. That’s why some actions that come from the deeper level of compassion might not look compassionate to someone else or to the external world. They might even look cruel, yet they might be the most compassionate thing. Often what people want to do in such a case—to act in a way that looks compassionate—is really not compassionate.

Love and Compassion Needed to be a Student of the Work

To be a student in this Work, you need these two motivations—love and compassion—from beginning to end. This is very tough work. To do the Work with love and compassion means to appreciate that this process is tough; it is an almost impossible task we are undertaking. So it is best not to give yourself a hard time about it. You need to learn to be patient, to not judge or criticize yourself when things do not happen the way you think they should. You need to not be too pessimistic, and also not too optimistic. If you are too pessimistic, you will create a lot of heaviness in your process. If you are too optimistic, you will create too many disappointments. Balance is the best way. It is not useful to look at yourself from one day or one week to the next and make a judgment: “I haven’t changed. I’ve been meditating for two months, and nothing has happened.” This is not being kind to yourself. You are not taking the nature of the task into consideration. If you want to consider changes, or improvement, you need to not look from one week to the next, but consider a span of several years. Fundamental changes do not happen in a short time. Transitory or superficial changes can happen in a short time, but real changes, fundamental changes that will last forever, take years of work.

Our Ideas About Compassion are Not Accurate

AH: Yes, he told the truth. And that’s the real function of compassion. The point of compassion is not to eliminate suffering, but to lead a person to the truth so that she will be able to live the life of truth. This is an important fact that we tend to not see because our ideas about compassion are not accurate. Look for yourself. What kind of compassion have you believed in and acted from? For most of us, it’s obvious where our prejudice lies. Our compassion has not been on the side of truth; it has been on the side of feeling good. This is not the compassion of Essence; it is the compassion of emotions. It is understandable that it hurts to see someone hurting. You may also feel compassionate towards yourself when you are hurting; this compassion helps. So what is the relationship between hurt, truth and compassion? Compassion is a kind of healing agent that helps us tolerate the hurt of seeing the truth. The function of compassion in the Work is not to reduce hurt; its function is to lead to the truth. Much of the time, the truth is painful or scary. Compassion makes it possible to tolerate that hurt and fear. It helps us persist in our search for truth. Truth will ultimately dissolve the hurt, but this is a by-product and not the major purpose of compassion. In fact, it is only when compassion is present that people allow themselves to see the truth. Where there is no compassion, there is no trust. If someone is compassionate toward you, you trust him enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to see the truth rather than reject it. The compassion doesn’t alleviate the pain; it makes the pain meaningful, makes it part of the truth, makes it tolerable.

The Possibility of Experiencing One's Deep Wounds

Compassion: This is the aspect of loving kindness that is needed to experience and accept one’s hurts and wounds, without defense and without resentment. One cannot have an objective understanding about anyone if there is no Compassion. When there is Compassion it becomes possible to experience one’s deep wounds, an experience which readily leads to the aspects related to these wounds. Each time an aspect is buried there results a deep wound in the psyche, and the experience and acceptance of this wound is indispensable for the emergence of the buried aspect.Compassion is usually recognized in its manifestations such as consideration, regard, concern, sympathy, empathy, warmth and the like. However, it is a mode of consciousness, a presence of Being, in a certain differentiated form. Its real significance is not exactly to remove suffering, but to lead to the truth by providing the capacity to tolerate suffering. This increased tolerance for emotional suffering gives the individual the ability to refrain from ego defenses. This allows one to look objectively at one’s experience, which facilitates its metabolism. It eliminates suffering in a more ultimate and fundamental sense, by allowing the ability to see the deeper causes of suffering. Also, the increased tolerance and acceptance of experience allows one to just be, instead of trying to manipulate. This allows both objective understanding and personal presence. To be who one is is a compassionate act. It is compassionate towards oneself and towards all others.

When We Don’t Trust the Truth, We Don’t Have Compassion for Ourselves

So you see, there is a beautiful cause-and-effect relationship between truth and compassion. They go together. Compassion leads to truth, truth to compassion. What makes us avoid either or both of them is usually pain. We want to feel good. We want to protect our beliefs, our ideas about who we are. We want to protect ourselves from seeing the truth about others. We all have these cherished beliefs about who we are, who others are, how things are, how things are supposed to be. Seeing through these can bring fear and pain. But that is because we believe the lies. We think the lies are the truth because we don’t trust the truth. But the truth itself is the point, regardless of whether or not it accords with our beliefs. You see in your work on yourself that the truth is often not in accord with what you believe about yourself. A lot of you have discovered, for instance, what love is. It’s not what you thought. When you discovered value, it wasn’t what you thought. When you felt fulfillment, it wasn’t what you thought. This letting go of what you thought—it was painful, wasn’t it? It was scary. You fought tooth and nail. “No! I won’t let go of that one!” But the more you let go, the more you experienced the real thing. It’s interesting too that compassion goes along with trust. Trust and compassion are almost the same. A lot of the time we don’t trust the truth, but the truth is the best thing for us. When we don’t trust the truth, we don’t have compassion for ourselves.

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