Compassion

December 24, 2013
I’m a little late with this post because I had some minor hand surgery last week and typing is really a challenge. Next week will hopefully be easier. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about compassion, the next of the Brahma-Viharas, the Immeasurable or Divine mind states. I like to think of them as the most beautiful and comfortable states the mind can experience: loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity.

Compassion is literally the ability to turn towards, acknowledge and embrace the suffering of another, a mingling of sympathy and empathy that is entirely focused on the other without the need or attempt to fix or change anything. Just the capacity to be with whatever suffering is present.

I’ll write more about this just as soon as I can type with more than one hand. But in the meantime,

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.      -Albert Einstein