Wisdom And Compassion: What Does ‘Compassion’ Mean To You?
What Does ‘Compassion’ Mean To You? Compassion is a strong component of many religions, cultures, philosophies, and households. However, no teachings on compassion are quite as well-articulated or well-developed as the Buddhist teachings on it. The way in which followers of Buddhism cultivate and practice this powerful quality is extraordinary, admirable even. In Buddhist teachings, Buddha is said to have described two qualities as being essential to a person’s true enlightenment; wisdom and compassion.
In today’s Western society we probably associate these two qualities as being opposites. ‘Wisdom’ is considered to be a sign of strength and logic. ‘Compassion’ on the other hand, is often thought of as just another ‘wishy-washy’ emotion, one that can perhaps get in the way of logic. This couldn't be any further from the truth.
The Law of Attraction teaches that our lives are a reflection of what we put out into the universe. Compassion can have an important part to play in this; it helps us to no longer think in terms of ‘me’ and ‘you’ and instead, think in terms of ‘us’. It is about using your wisdom to free both yourself and others from suffering, as when the people around you suffer, you do too.
If compassion is the path to true enlightenment, then perhaps it is time to ask yourself: what does compassion mean to me?
Here are just 3 important definitions of compassion…
Compassion For The Self
For a lot of people, the idea of having compassion for themselves is difficult to digest. After all, wouldn't that be considered selfish?
Many people find it easier to show compassion for others, even complete strangers, rather than themselves.
This may sound unusual. We claim to be a selfish society do we not? However, the reason for this is that too many people are afraid of turning inward to look at themselves, worried about what they might discover. Guilt, shame, anxiety, even self-loathing!
However, learning to have compassion for yourself and to let go of the judgemental way in which you look at your own life will not only serve to improve your own life’s happiness; the compassion that you show yourself will begin to reflect in your treatment of others, too.
Compassion And Suffering
Compassion and suffering may sound far removed from one another, but they are in fact, inexplicably linked.
The Dalai Lama defines compassion as being the ‘wish that oneself and others be free from suffering’. It is this need to free ourselves and others from suffering that gives us the ability to empathize with people’s pain. This may sound like a negative thing, as nobody wants to become overwhelmed with the suffering of the people around them. However, is it this need to help others that allows us to bear our own pain.
After all, how can we ever endure our own suffering when we are unable to acknowledge the suffering of others, too?
Compassion And Freedom
Compassion can be our liberator; compassion breaks down barriers and joins people together on a human, spiritual level. When we feel compassion for others, how can we ever be alone?
The powerful thing about compassion is that it can bend and remold the usual rigidity of our world’s rules and restriction. It can travel above and beyond the labels that we give to ourselves and each other. It is free to roam into even the darkest corners of the world.
Having compassion is having the worldview that we are all in this together, that the lives of those around you are impacting your own life and vice versa. This is why to achieve our own happiness we must also strive for the happiness of others.
We all contribute to creating the reality that we live in; so by working together and looking out for the emotional frequency of those around you, as well as your own, you are helping to make the reality that you live in that much better.
What about compassion for the darkest of the dark? Wars, violence, terrible cruelty? That is something that only the most practiced of teachers can teach us. But for now, in your immediate life, compassion for your families, your friends, your neighbors, the people you pass in the street – learning to have greater compassion for them will for now prove your most positive, most enlightened way forward to a happier life.
Having compassion for others and for yourself can change your world. Begin to use compassion more wisely in your life and the results will be illuminating.
How To Be More Compassionate
If you feel that you need to work on becoming more compassionate, I have put together a list of simple things you can do, or change, that can help you to become more compassionate to not only yourself but others around you too.
1. Listen Fully To Others
Sometimes, all people need is someone who will listen to them. You may not have a solution for someone, but even just being there for this person in their time of need is enough to make them feel loved and safe.
Next time someone reaches out to you, listen to their problems and show that you care.
2. Put Yourself In Someone Else's Situation Mentally
Some people may hurt you, or cause you pain. Some may seem distant or not paying attention, but there is often a reason for this. Understand that everyone suffers and everyone feels joy.
Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and understand why they may be acting a certain way, and realize it's not always directed at you personally.
3. Treat Others How You Would Want To Be Treated
This is a common saying, however, we can sometimes forget it. To show compassion, treat others how you would want to be treated; with love, positivity and kindness.
If someone is having a bad day, show them support, if someone needs to express their sadness, let them and recognize that you would want to be treated in the same way.
4. Be Kind To Yourself
We often put pressure on ourselves or beat ourselves up, but this is not the answer. In order to be compassionate to others, you need to be compassionate to yourself. It can be hard to show others love if we do not show ourselves love.
Practice self-care and learn to love yourself, so that you can love others too.