Meditating on Compassion

Like a wave and sometimes unexpected, compassion comes upon us in the strangest moments. Moved to care, prayer and action, compassion can start as a trickle and work into a torrent. Do we foster compassion within ourselves, somehow manufacturing it of our own strength and desire for righteousness? Or does it come from the source of all love Himself?

I often wonder why some bear the weight of compassion and others do not. At times, it seems part of the human fabric to want to care, help and empathize with the hurt of another. But, is it wisdom or folly that drives us to reach out regardless of the consequences? Those much wiser than I have pondered these things, and their observations are certainly worthy of consideration and meditation on this cold, winter morning.

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling 
what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. 
It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me 
until there is peace and joy finally for you, too.
~Frederick Buechner

It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. 
If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle 
to opening our hearts and minds to others.

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, 
it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, 
it is essential for human survival.
~Dalai Lama

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness 
of the interdependence of all these living beings, 
which are all part of one another, 
and all involved in one another.
~Thomas Merton

The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. 
Anyone can criticize. 
It takes a true believer to be compassionate. 
No greater burden can be borne by an individual 
than to know no one cares or understands.
~Arthur H. Stainback

Make no judgements where you have no compassion.

Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, 
but G-d never will.
~William Cowper

Compassionate action involves working with ourselves 
as much as working with others.
~Pema Chodron

In separateness lies the world's great misery, 
in compassion lies the world's true strength.

There is nothing heavier than compassion.
Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels for someone;
pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echos.
~Milan Kundera


Ari C'rona said…
I suppose it's rhetorical, but I'm sure that true compassion comes from the Holy One. That first quote is so very true for me...
Netanya said…
You are such a wonderful example of compassion. It astonishes me the amount of it you show, and to whoom you are able to show it. You give me a goal to strive for in myself.
Barb said…
This is what I am striving for: "Compassion listens attentively, it is true, and looks for opportunities to apply the first aid of affirmation, prayer and friendship."

Thank you for your timely exhortation, my friend!