Compassion – the real meaning
By Robin Duff
Suddenly, compassion is a word that is being thrown around.
It is a word with strong religious connotations and if you check websites with compassion in the name, you will find that indeed, they are predominantly religious and we have to sternly ask ourselves why this is. Compassion is not the exclusive reserve of any organisation after all.
Compassion for most, means mistreated animals and kids, the under privileged and poverty stricken people in third world countries, and those dying of terminal illnesses and old age. Hence the religious hijack for, although there are countless operations around to deal with all the aforementioned, they are not really synonymous with or aligned to, “compassion”.
No-one sees their local doctor or hospital staff or those who work in government handout offices as compassionate, yet these are the very people who are meant to be. Their forebears, the compassionate individuals who initiated these institutions, who recognised that the ill and the deprived could not be allowed to continue living the way they were, were certainly compassionate.
We live in modern civilised times we are told, so it is a sobering thought to realise that we are conditioned to think the way we do by sheer force of repetition, meaning that if something is done enough times, our physical minds pick this up as a given. The thing, the word, or whatever it is we have seen, heard or been told repeatedly becomes fact.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines compassion thus: sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering and misfortune of others . However, now that we have passed the 2012 marker and have moved into an energy that is enabling us to be more aware of, and in tune with, the muilti-dimensional universe around us, a little more enlightened in other words, perhaps it is also time to expand on the very three dimensional definitions we have grown up with and to look into their greater meanings.
Compassion is a grand word and perhaps we, as human beings need to step into and live up to it.
First of all compassion isn’t the same as sympathy and pity. Run a little test on yourself right now. Feel sympathy and then pity and then compassion. If you get it right you will note the difference. Sympathy and pity are almost patronising. Compassion harmonises, enabling us to feel with the individual in distress rather than feel for them.
What about feeling compassion for the thousands of prisoners, rapists, murderers and Hitlers of the world? Is this normal? Or even likely? Not really.
Do we believe that these genres of people are happy about what they do? We can scan Facebook to find lengthy threads abusing perpetrators of rape, paedophilia and other heinous acts – those who have been criminally charged or those who have been caught on camera - and it is understandable that we do. But we also need to stop, take a deep breath and question our own volatile natures when we fall into an abuse pattern that is only a few steps away from violence in itself. When does the abused become the abuser? When does the abuser become the abused? It becomes a deadly cycle and the victims or the loved ones of victims, will almost always blindly lash out believing they are right in reacting, very publicly, with hate and revenge.
it is at times like this that we need to come to grips with the real meaning of the word compassion and understand our true human natures, for these people, the ones who do terrible things to others, are the ones who need our compassion most of all. They need help and support in the exact same way that the impoverished and sick do. It is just that generally, blinded by anger and emotion, we fail to see that base truth.
A woman in her forties (this was sometime ago, she is now dead), whose mother had deserted her as a child was never able to recover from this fact. She was never able to enjoy fulfilling relationships, she married and divorced twice, blamed her absent mother for what she perceived as her own shortcomings and lack of success in life and was in constant therapy because of it.
What she didn’t know was that her mother at 17, had fallen pregnant, was forced by family and social protocol to marry the father, did not want children anyway but when the child arrived spent four miserable years trying to make a go of both wife and motherhood. She felt she was going insane and that she would end up killing the child if she remained in the situation, so she ran away, quite literally into the night - thinking it was the best thing to do for both husband and child - never to return.
It transpires that this mother, who was only 21 when she left, managed to make something of her life and in later years became relatively well known in her field but before the daughter could make contact, she died. The daughter never forgave the mother for deserting her, for never trying to contact her and blamed her totally for the psychological problems weighing her down.
This is one of those harrowing tales where one lot of people know one set of facts and another group know the other set and only after a few years are the facts knitted together and usually too late. It is also a classic case of facts not known, assumptions made and a rigid belief system not allowng for any other reason or reasons why someone could possibly run off other than that they were cold, selfish and uncaring.
In both cases, compassion was the missing ingredient.
The mother didn’t receive any from the family she left and it doesn‘t seem as if the daughter did either. Although she was in therapy, therapists generally fall into the doctors and hospitals category described above. There to help, but lacking in the ingredient that is vital to really help.
Is there a how...?
Bashar states that compassion is always confused with sympathy and pity but they are far from being the same. Sympathy and pity play on the individual’s emotions and are thus disempowering (Bashar is the extra terrestrial channelled through Darryl Anka).
Empathy and compassion on the other hand, are empowering, he says. Both statements take some working out and we refer back to what we said about the meanings of words. As we evolve, we need to refine our understanding of them although one could also argue that it isn’t necessary to use words at all. Action, as the saying goes, speaks louder than words and it is the actual doing that’s important, not necessarily talking about it.
Compassion in action can be simply sitting quietly and empathetically with someone. It isn’t necessary to try and make them feel better, to take them out of what they are feeling, Bashar explains.
“The acknowledgement of the feeling is the first step in changing it,” he continues.
“You can’t change what you don’t own.
“So the idea is not to cajole them out of what they’re feeling but to be with them in the way that they are feeling, in a way that can gently guide them in an appropriate manner.”
Some people think it is a good thing to jolly people out of the state they are in but Bashar says that this is often a statement about the person doing the jollying.
“If you rush to humour them, to pull them out of the doldrum, you yourself may actually be scared of feeling what they’re feeling ... and not wanting that in your reality ... which means that you are actually disempowering yourself instead of knowing that you are strong enough to be able to ‘hold them in your energy arms’ while they go through what they are going through and to gently coax them back into their empowerment when it’s appropriate.”
Cyprus, Syria & world chaos
We can ask ourselves if we feel sympathy, pity, empathy or compassion for the many countries in trouble? Are we able to feel compassion for those we perceive as the people who put us there? Do we think that those responsible are rejoicing and laughing at us? All heads of state (apart from George Bush Jnr) look terrible after a couple of years in power. Why do we think this is? Hundreds of questions leap to mind but the biggest one is, are we evolved enough to feel compassion for those who have done so much harm?