Compassion sure does get thrown around in the Personal Growth, spiritual and religious venues a whole lot. Don’t mean to say that those not playing in those areas are not exploring compassion too but you know what I mean. I have been in quandary and confused about it because for myself there has been a lot of beliefs around service that have become servitude as well as inappropriate responsibility for others (i.e. pity, help that is not asked for, expectation that my support is appreciated, etc.) and expectations for responsibility for me. Been doing a lot of things in my life (and waaaaay many past-lives for that matter) based on the expectation of what it would create “out there” or what would I get from others. A ripe recipe for getting out of authenticity and getting into resentment is really the brass tacks of the matter here. I have, as a soul, spent considerable effort, energy and execution towards compassion and trying to explore its wisdom for myself. Thus in this lifetime, I have ended up unconsciously taking on others lessons, less-than-desirable energies, un-processed information, as well as giving away my own energy, healing, awareness, work, capabilities, information and other little things like oh … self-respect along the way. Great. This compassion thing like sucks.
But what!?! Not strive for compassion?!? It’s what some of the spiritual elite would have work towards on your path to enlightenment. Hmmm how is it that compassion for others is true? I have not formally studied the subject so maybe they know something about it I have missed. Well I started back with the basics. I looked up compassion in the dictionary:noun com·pas·sion 1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
I.e. Pity and Responsibility in a nut shell.
Well folks I think that pity is a pretty massive and invalidating judgment. I am coming from the thought that God/Supreme Being/Source/That Special ‘Je ne sais quoi’ is not in a hurry for the “completion” of our development so we get more than a few tries at embodying and experiencing. As that premise is the case, any path is valid. And how can you judge another because honestly you don’t know what their path is, hell I am hoping to get my own figured out. And how can you really take responsibility for another? Or how can another be expected to take responsibility for you? With the premise of free will we can only truly take responsibility for ourselves. No more and no less (Please don’t understand me to be lumping kids, pet parakeets, etc. into this concept as I am not. Those and other examples of appropriate responsibility are a whole other matter.).
So back to compassion being a combo of pity and responsibility. Not what I really want to order on the blue plate special. Which begs the question then what is something to strive for with compassion? What is it about compassion that is relevant to a present time interpretation of the concept? I think that understanding, empathizing and accepting are a better starting place for an updated definition for compassion. This idea means that there is room for self-compassion as well as compassion for others. And thus a space for balance opens up. Also there is a place and a space for being who you are, really really…. like as Shrek-ish or whatever you are in this time and place. To be really seen and accepted is a great gift. The next step that affords is the freedom of choice to be great. If you are fundamentally acceptable right now (not like in 3 weeks after you have lost 7 more pounds) but RIGHT NOW, then your personal self is acceptable. The whole “I’m ok. You’re ok.” thing. That gives you and others this incredible permission to be. And when you, can with every fiber of your being know that you are valid, then literally the sky becomes the limit has to how you can choose to express that self and/or change. So responsibility for others coming from a place of joy or inspiration or genuine self-expression now can have the freedom to blossom but like a Haiku poem it is given boundaries and structure for always making it relevant to honest self-responsibility. We are still the captains of our own ships, even if we gave them away. The illusion is that we can captain someone else into what they should/could be, know or do whether from a story of victim or perpetrator, giver or receiver. No I think. Instead I will play with inviting folks to hear my thoughts for my own enjoyment and better understanding for myself. If that creates support, inspiration, ideas or even the alleviation of suffering of another then what awesome fringe benefits.
Sincerely a muse-ing you, Trella