What does the word compassion bring to your mind? Sometimes people mistake feelings of sympathy for compassion. Often, when we express pity for ourselves or others, we believe that we are compassionate beings. However, it is not necessarily a compassionate act to feel sorry for other people. Sometimes, it is a greater act of authenticity to be strong for someone in an act of true support, even in those times when our strength appears to be harsh.
Imagine the daunting job that a good parent has. With both right and wrong behavior one must remain a guiding light for the child that he has brought into the world. At times this role may seem to be filled with conflict as a parent wrestles with daily decisions of how to teach the lessons of life that his child must learn, while maintaining a balance of loving kindness.
If a parent does not hold compassion for the child, his actions can appear too strict and break the child's spirit. If a parent, however, takes pity on a child, his actions teach him nothing and this lack of discipline will haunt the child in ways of formulating a weak character.
In all actions one can hold compassion in one's heart that will be a steadfast guide. When the intent of the beholder is one of Truth, this compassion flows outward in a natural way, even when the situation is a painful or delicate issue. When there is intention that does not reside in the heart of the beholder, but comes forth from an egoic structure in the form of manipulation, compassion is absent and the lack of integrity is revealed. This is often loosely disguised as comfort, but can easily be felt by the recipient as pity. Where there is pity, judgement resides.
In exploring our own level of compassion we are often surprised to discover a lack of compassion for our own selves. This comes across in many forms: negative thoughts or statements we make about ourselves; a devaluation of our role in society, or within our own families; our lack of healthy habits; a lack of attention for our needs and a disregard of what our heart desires.
Compassion can be nurtured and will grow, like the cool, green seedling planted deep within our hearts. When we connect with this essence that is a natural part of our soul, we experience a soothing balm, assuaging the deep wounds that keep us from connecting with our authentic selves. It takes but a few moments to consciously connect with the compassion that yearns to reveal itself to us. It takes willingness, curiousity, and awareness to seek the compassion within.
Won't you let this year be the one in which you practice holding compassion in your heart? It may be the sweetest gift you ever give to yourself.
Namaste, and many blessings...
Additional writing by this author: The Pearl