February 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 2)

Warm, winter greetings, dear friends. It is still cold in areas that experience seasonal change, but we are past the Winter Solstice and there's an almost imperceptible increase in the hours of daylight. And even on the coldest of days, the light of compassion can warm us. It has been said that compassion is at the heart of all the world’s religions, but it can be difficult sometimes to find it in our own hearts or even to adequately define it. At such times, we can turn within, ask for help, and then, in the silence, listen with our hearts. The answers we need will come. If we but ask and then listen and finally act as our heart directs, we can bring more and more compassion into our suffering world, one heart, one soul at a time.

Compassion literally means to feel with

Compassion literally means to feel with, to suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet everyone tends to avoid it because it's uncomfortable. And the avoidance produces psychic numbing -- resistance to experiencing our pain for the world and other beings.

~ by Joanna Macy, quoted in OPEN MIND by Diane Mariechild

When we live with compassion and kindness

The Earth is home to all creation,
to be lovingly cared for by us in
communion with the Divine Friend.
Praises be to the Creator of the cosmos!
With grateful hearts, let us give thanks!
What other return can we give to the One,
Who continues to gift us with life?
When we open our heart to the Friend,
when we live with compassion and kindness,
we walk in beauty!
We come to know the Divine Guest,
Whose companioning Presence
is ever with us.

~ from MEDITATIONS AND MANDALAS by Nan Merrill

The greatest gift of all is an awakened, unconstrained, limitless heart

The greatest gift of all is an awakened, unconstrained, limitless heart. It takes you out of your skin and fills you with such compassion that, in the words of one of my Bushmen teachers, "It even makes you love the man who stole your wife." I have no doubt that the Bushmen doctors of the Kalahari hold the most important answer to the world's present state of crisis, terror, and madness. It is not found in any defense budget, technological development, or politician's deal. It is found in each and every one of our hearts. It's the oldest news that can set us free and it is found when one surrenders to the hot, sweaty, weeping steam of love, the love that reveals the ropes that take us straight to the Big God.

~ from "Dancing with the Kalahari Bushmen" by Bradford Keeney in Spirituality and Health, June 2003

Compasson is not helpless pity

Compassion is not helpless pity, but an awareness and determination that demand action.

~ by Unknown

Compassion makes me feel at one with everyone

Compassion is defined in Buddhist teaching as the trembling or quivering of the heart in response to seeing pain or suffering. Alone with love and altruism, compassion can be seen as warm-heartedness replacing cynicism, beneficence taking the place of indifference, caring supplanting aloofness. The Dalai Lama, whose life has not been easy, has said, "The reason I am pretty happy is because of the force of compassion. Compassion makes me feel at one with everyone."

~ from THE FORCE OF KINDNESS by Sharon Salzberg

Cultivate compassion

Live with attention,
cultivate compassion,
establish justice.
Then you will realize the purpose for which
you were created.
 

~ by Unknown

Compassion is what the cosmos best responds to

Everything is here because of love. That's why we were created -- to love, and creation is set up to make love possible. Love keeps things going, not just for now but forever. Love gives life and makes sure what's around today will be around tomorrow. Love sets us on the journey and ensures our safe return. It's about compassion, it’s what the cosmos best responds to.

~ from THE WAY OF THE DREAMCATCHER by S. T. Georgiou

Do good by doing compassion

What should you do?
Do good by doing compassion
to everyone
you know needs it.
Expect adversity.
Bear adversity with love.

~ by Mechtild of Magdeburg

Only in the presence of compassion can we show our wounds without diminishing our wholeness

In a talk about compassion, a former teacher of mine once said that practice prepares the mind, but suffering prepares the heart. Perhaps the final step in the healing of all wounds is the discovery of the capacity for compassion, an intuitive knowing that no one is singled out in their suffering, that all living beings are vulnerable to loss, attachment, and limitation. It is only in the presence of compassion that we can show our wounds without diminishing our wholeness. For those who have compassion, woundedness is not a place of judgment but a place of genuine meeting.

~ from MY GRANDFATHER’S BLESSING by R. N. Remen

Divine compassion

Divine compassion is ever present within our limited compassion.

~ by Unknown

Knowing God is the source of compassion in our lives

Knowing God is the source of compassion in our lives. We realize that our separation from others is artificial. We are neither separate from other people nor from Tao. It is only our own egotism that leads us to define ourselves as individuals. In fact, a direct experience of God is a direct experience of the utter universality of life. If we allow it to change our way of thinking, we will understand our essential oneness with all things.

~ from 365 TAO, no. 105
365 Tao: Daily Meditations
By Ming-Dao Deng

The opposite of injustice is not justice, but compassion

In spiritual maturity, the opposite of injustice is not justice, but compassion. Not me against you, not me straightening out the present ill, fighting to gain a just result for myself and others, but compassion, a life that goes against nothing and fulfills everything.

~ by Charlotte Joko Beck

Compassion is the fire

Compassion is the fire which the Lord has come to send on the earth.

~ by Thomas Aquinas

Love and compassion are necessities

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.

~ by the Dalai Lama

A habitual state of compassionate love

The process of establishing ourselves in a habitual state of compassionate love takes place in the context of countless failure to be compassionate.  But this proves to be no hindrance as long as we commit ourselves to being compassionate toward ourselve in our failings to be compassionate.  Even our failures to be compassionate prove to be but new opportunities . . .  This process of yielding to compassionate love unfolds and deepens over a lifetime of learning that when all is said and done, love is the playing field where we most truly meet ourselves and others as we really are, precious in our collective frailty.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE HEART by James Finley, thanks to Liz Stewart
The Contemplative Heart
By James Finley