What is Compassion?
‘Often the simplest question opens the door to amazing journeys yet unknown…’
For me, this down-to-earth question, ‘What is Compassion?’ opened a wonder land filled with depth, expansion and adventure!
Join me on this journey called Compassion……
I was seeing the word everywhere: ‘Be compassionate’, ‘have compassion’ ‘act with compassion’, and so on. It was as if the word itself was calling out to be heard. Finally, I began my quest in response to its invitation. What is compassion and what does it mean to be compassionate?
I realized I grew up with a partial, though well-intentioned description of compassion. I was raised with the idea that compassion was mostly associated with ‘the poor’ and downtrodden. It was almost an ‘above/below’ kind of thing where I ‘had’ and they didn’t, therefore I was supposed to be compassionate and help-out somehow.
I began listening and asking people questions; I received many revealing answers similar to these:
- Compassion is seeing life from the other person’s point of view
- Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help physical, spiritual or emotional hurts or pains of another*
- I believe compassion to be recognizing essence. When we open ourselves to recognizing the true essence of someone in need, we are more likely to be led to a compassionate act*
- Compassion is a mind that is motivated by cherishing other living beings and wishes to release them from their suffering*
- Compassion is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. It has the added element of having a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another*
- Synonyms: Tenderness, heart, clemency, mercy, commiseration
- Dictionary definition: A feeling of deep sympathy accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering
These definitions increased my interest desiring me to go deeper. What is it that causes people to want to understand and act with compassion? I decided to go deeper within, asking All-That-Is for new understanding regarding What is Compassion? The following insights rocked my world!
- Com = a prefix meaning ‘with’, ‘together’, ‘in association’
- A quantitative dimension, such that individual’s compassion is often given a property of depth, vigor or passion – ‘With Passion’
- The English noun, compassion: ‘To love together with’…..*
To Love Together With
To Love Together With……..Passion!
Yes!!!! This changes the meaning of everything! Compassion is not just a desire to reach out to alleviate the suffering of another, it springs from ‘loving together with’ another! From this loving connectedness, compassion naturally elicits understanding and action. We are loving ‘with’ not ‘to’.
More! More! I asked for even more clarity:
- Compassion lives and flows from the heart
- Compassion lives and inspires in the present moment
- Compassion is the presence that helps the person re-member Love, and in those moments we ‘love together with’
- Compassion is seeing and loving the other for who they really are. It is loving them without their filters
- All the masters of the planet carried compassion with them. This is compassion: Look into their heart, no matter who they are on the street or in your own family and all you see is God*
The illumination of my Compassion path continues. With each daily news cycle comes more opportunity to go deeper into the meaning of ‘loving together with’. With each new inspiration comes another question and ‘aha’. What does this mean for me in everyday life? How can I remove the cloak of fear and judgment and learn to ‘be’ compassion? It is the onion. Layer by layer I am uncovering my path of compassion, loving together with….You.
Thank you for sharing this adventure! – Joan Kappes
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