Q. Trying to be compassionate all the time can become a mental burden. It can be oppressive. Is there another way one can think about it?
A. Don’t try to be compassionate. Compassion maintained by your artificial effort is not compassion but an illusion of compassion. True compassion is a natural emotion like the maternal love mothers feel for their children, like the friendship you feel when you have a good friend and like the fullness you feel when you have had enough food.
No woman tries to have maternal love without having a child, but she comes to have it spontaneously as soon as she has a child. No one tries to have friendship without a friend, but we can feel friendship when we have a good friend. No one tries to be full without eating food, but we can feel full spontaneously when we have eaten enough food.
Likewise, true compassion is the emotion toward others that comes to you as you feel oneness with them. In other words, when you feel oneness with others, you come to see and feel others’ suffering as yours, which is compassion. So, trying to be compassionate without feeling oneness is like trying to have maternal love without having a baby.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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