Compassion is the key

Meditation is important to transform passion into compassion

Published: 24th December 2012 11:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2012 11:14 AM   |  A+A-


The speed with which the Supreme Being, who is the abode of compassion, responds to those who take refuge in Him has been extolled by the saints and seers who have experienced His grace in full measure. For spiritual seekers the instances of the Lord’s intercession in the lives of His devotees continue to be a source of inspiration while facing the vicissitudes of life because it is human to become despondent in such situations.

No practicing religion can be happy with ignoring the suffering of some and alleviating the suffering of a few others. No religion can discriminate between one human being and another, and adopt systems and strategies that ignore some, which results in affluence for some at the cost of increasing misery for others. We understand that all religions believe in the need to the end the suffering of all beings.

Compassion means you have transcended biology and physiology. You are no more a slave, you are master. Now you function consciously. You are totally free. Then the same energy that becomes passion is transformed into compassion. Here, passion is lust, desire, greed and compassion is love, desirelessness, sharing respectively. Passion wants to use the other as a means; compassion respects the other as an end unto himself.

Compassion is a form of empathy and care that wishes for the alleviation of someone’s suffering. Known as ‘Karuna’ in Buddhism, this compassion is sometimes referred to as the ‘jewel in the lotus’. The lotus symbolizes the heart or mind that, with practice, blossoms into freedom, and the jewel represents the compassion appearing in the center off this blossom. The feeling of unfettered compassion is one of the most beautiful feelings a person can experience, providing valuable meaning and purpose to any human life.

Compassion doesn’t make us victims of suffering, whereas feeling distress on another’s behalf often does. Learning how to see the suffering in the world without taking it on personally is very important; when we take it personally it is easy to become depressed or burdened. We can avoid taking it as a personal burden or obligation if we learn to feel empathy without it touching our own fears, attachments, and perhaps unresolved grief.

Compassion is a key word, but you will understand it only if you go deep into meditation. Meditation is the key to transform passion into compassion. You will have to become more conscious. We live like robots (mechanical life). The more like a robot you are, the better you function, the better the society feels with you - because it is a society of robots. To be awakened alert, conscious is dangerous.

Some people are reluctant to actively cultivate compassion because they worry that it will be insincerely or artificially contrived. Others fear that it will make them sentimentally naïve or prevent them from seeing others clearly or realistically - perhaps out of concern they will be taken advantage of if they are compassionate for others. Because efforts to be compassionate can be misguided, these concerns are worth keeping in mind.

It is easier to feel compassionate if we feel safe and very difficult when we don’t. Therefore, to develop a confident and compassionate life, it can be helpful to find appropriate ways to feel safe. Locking ourselves in our home may feel secure, but it’s not conducive to caring more about others. Learning how to be safe while in the world is more useful. The focus can be on how compassion enriches us, not depletes us.

Socrates says, “If you know that you don’t know, that is a great beginning. Then it is possible for you to know”. To aware that ‘I am ignorant’ creates the possibility of seeking, searching in your own interiority for the truth - for your truth. Compassion is the ultimate transformation of passion. You are in passion, but you go on thinking that you are right as you are. You go on defending yourself.

Valuing compassion when it does appear can also strengthen it and make it more apt to arise in the future. We might consider and appreciate the benefits it can bring others as well as ourselves. Knowing the benefits cab bring a sense of happiness that in turn can make compassion more appealing. Compassion can be more appealing when we have seen how it can be source of happiness and how it can be intimately connected with our inner freedom. Compassion for others can be a relief when we have spent too long pre-occupied with ourselves.

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