Blog Post 13: Errors in Compassion
Today this sentence caught my attention, “The living reality of transformation…” I was again reminded that “the primary agent of transformation is compassion.” I’ve been struggling to write this post because I felt the need to address my failure(s) in compassion. Recently, I reacted poorly to a comment from a friend; in fact, I think I totally misunderstood it. The word “reacted” is important here since it so easily identifies when I’ve lost sight of the divinity of every human being and our oneness through love.
This time instead of being angry or frustrated with myself/ego, blaming, or trying to forget or justify my behavior (more egocentric activity), I decided to do something different. (These thought processes hadn’t been all that helpful in the past anyway.) There are a number of spiritual practices available but they can be used to avoid the real issue. It seemed essential to me that I learn something through my less than helpful or compassionate response in the situation. I understand that our failures at living with compassion are our teachers, too. And I would also say that there are always opportunities to grow in compassionate living.
Looking deeply into this I could see how underlying all this egocentric drama was fear. When I am afraid, I lose sight of the Love that loves me into this moment. In this instance, the fear was based in my ego needs, even the need to be a compassionate person! One of the “micro-fears” was what other people would think of me. It broke the distorted image of who my constructed/false self thinks I am. This is a key to the freedom we find in transformation, a key to growth.
Joyce Rupp writes, “In order for compassion to be more than a distant ideal, we need to be faithful to our daily spiritual practice.” “…mindfulness helps us assess whether our thoughts and feelings are pulling us toward or away from compassion.” When my awareness is distressed by fear or pain, I can use this as a sign that I need to be more mindfully aware. “We will be more curious about our feelings rather than frightened of them or in denial about them, and most of all [we will learn] how to be kind which lies at the heart of compassion.”
A life lived in fear and not in love/compassion is not a life lived at all. In fact, it can be a real “hell on earth.” We all need to “get a life,” that is, a life that is lived in the reality of love and compassion.