Question of the Week: 12/31 - 1/06 Is it possible to alleviate, or end, the pain of another? Or is it something that each entity must come upon themselves?
Can one reach somewhere deep inside and bring relief from suffering? Can one be compassionate?
If the self is at the core of the movement of compassion, is compassion there at all? Can the self move in any way other than to perpetuate its own continuity?
One that is compassionate is simply one that acts, free from the trappings of the self. When one moves beyond what is known, then the potential for compassion is realized at each moment. It becomes impossible to move or act incorrectly.
All movement is an extension of that compassion. There is no cause and affect; there is only action. And that action IS an action to alleviate pain without, as it springs from an entity that has no pain.
Every movement in liberation becomes an expression of compassion and love.
In the end, when the mind is clear, any move that is made is a living example of compassion.
Fragmentation is Separation
If one's mind is fragmented, meaning separate, broken, and incapable of operating clearly, can that mind know what it means to be compassionate?
When the self separates itself from the rest of the world, such as "I" and "THEM," and what "I" believe and what "THEY believe," can it be sensitive enough to express compassion? Is the self in any way capable of sensitivity?
One may profess to be compassionate, "I do this and this on Wednesday, and I pay attention on Sunday," but does any of this mean anything if it comes from a position of fragmentation? I am not saying it does or it doesn't. This is something to find out for yourselves.
Can a mind dependent upon its suffering, that is steeped in fragmentation, can that mind ever act in a way that is whole? This is important to ask. One might believe that one is compassionate, but does belief have anything to do with it?
One might say, "My belief in a particular religion makes me compassionate." But is compassion dependent upon religion? Is it dependent upon belief? If you say yes, then how far can your compassion go? How deep is your own fragmentation? Is one without religion incapable of compassion? Or what of other religions? Is there hope for anyone else outside your own belief system?
These fragmentary positions are horrid, and have placed the world in the state it is in today. But I am not limiting this discussion to religious matters. A fragment is a fragment, and all are devoid of wholeness.
Can a separate being, one that is divided, express compassion?
Compassion is Natural
When one is awake, when reality realizes itself, every action is taken without fragmentation. It is through that wholeness that compassion is expressed.
A mind that is whole is incapable of making wrong actions. There are no actions to take. Compassion and life just happen, and every move you make, regardless of thought, is the movement of love and compassion.
Is compassion an action? You might ask, "If I am fragmented, does that mean I cannot be compassionate?" A reasonable question. But can anyone answer it? If the action is taken through fragmentation, can the result ever be whole?
A Short Q and A
The following are a few questions that I received throughout 2007. I never posted them to the blog, but they fit perfectly with this topic.
I changed the wording on a few of them to avoid naming particular religions or organizations, but the gist remains the same.
"If I take an action, does that mean I am fragmented?"
There is nothing wrong with action. If one is whole, then all action is compassionate. A better question to ask might be, "Can I see fragmentation in myself, and if so can it come to an end?"
Compassion begins at the end. If the self is finished, if one is whole, then one cannot help but be compassionate. It just happens.
Compassion is a natural movement, and it is not dependent upon the movement of thought.
"Is compassion dependent upon action?"
When you say action, do you mean a specific action? Such as, Since I am doing THIS, I am compassionate. Is there anything in you that wishes to be compassionate? Is it something that you try to make happen?
Is it possible to be compassionate, or is there just compassion? This is very important to understand on your own.
If one is truly compassionate, there is no idea of compassion. If compassion exists as and idea or an ideal, it can never be expressed as an action.
Compassion is expressed when the idea of being compassionate is dropped.
"I do work at the local shelter in my neighborhood. I feed the homeless, help provide affordable housing, and help educate homeless children. I feel that I am compassionate, but is it true?"
Is it necessary to feel compassionate? If there is a feeling of pride, or a feeling of importance from what you believe to be compassion, does it have any meaning? Could it be the self up to its old tricks, trying to gain some power through one's actions?
Don't get me wrong, your work is very important. Without you, and people like you, densely populated cites might be worse off than they are. But one's job does not make one compassionate. You have probably seen yourself, within your organization, people with little to no compassion in the same line of work as you.
Your job is certainly important and gives you a wonderful opportunity to help others at a deep level, if you choose to do so. But if you are truly compassionate, you'll never know it.
When compassion seethes through every pore on your body, the idea of being compassionate will escape you. You will move, and compassion will be there. And that is all.
"Why can't I teach someone else to be compassionate?"
For the same reason you feel they need to be different from what they are.
"I am in a particular religion and what it teaches about compassion is different from what you are saying."
Compassion is natural. Why is it you need to be taught anything about it? If you perform a certain action in a certain way, does that mean you are compassionate? Is it merely set of things to do like a grocery list, or is it a natural expression of the complete human being?
Do you have a belief that says compassion only follows certain actions? I'll do this and this, then the light will shine on me. Is this a game? Really, ask yourself this question. Is compassion just something for you to play with? Is it merely an activity one takes in order to achieve a greater end? I'll be compassionate according to these rules, then I can get the greatest benefit in the end.
But what is the end? When you die and go to heaven or wherever it is? Or it is when your local community recognizes what you have done is compassionate? What is the point? It is all in order to get something for the self; greater recognition socially, or an eternal house safe from flames of torment.
Is it possible for you to fathom that compassion is beyond all of those? I am not saying it is or it isn't, but do you only know compassion because of what someone else told you? Have you ever tried to find out on your own?
Stop accepting and rejecting and just find out.
How can I be compassionate?
One has to come to terms with the self and with the images it projects. I am not saying that it is a way or a method, but what is it within that has this need to be compassionate? What is it that asks the question, "How?"
You might say, "The self has a need to be compassionate." The self may very well feel a need of this sort. But what can come of it? The self can only accept answers it already has. It cannot see beyond what it already knows, or what it has been taught. Everything it has is old and used.
Now, with that in mind, is compassion dependent upon what has come before? Does one need any history to be compassionate? The self might need to know, or the self might need to be, but it can never grasp compassion and own it like a possession. It is not something that is cultivated, and it cannot be housed as knowledge, stored away, and pulled out for later use.
How does one know this is true? Look at the world, as it is. There are possibly hundreds of millions of people claiming to be compassionate, and look where we are. Is this world the result of compassion? Or the result of fragmentation? If one sees the results of this, can any move from a fragmented position bring order, or wholeness to the world?
Surely it is easy to answer. But what will you do? Fall back into that fragmented position? Or is the seeing of the fact enough to cause a change in the organism?
This is not mere understanding. If you just play with it intellectually, then it might be a fun way to amuse yourself for a short period of time. But if it strikes you and penetrates right to the core, it becomes an understanding at a physical level. The organism rejects the desire for compassion, and the result is compassion.
Compassion is where fragmentation is not.
A Thank You
This post is a result of the group writing project started by the three monks– Wade of The Middle Way, Kenton of Zen-Inspired Self Development, and Albert of Urban Monk.Net. The three of them have produced some incredible articles this year.
The original post that gave birth to this article can be found at the Group Writing Project.
Below are three recent examples of their work. If you like what you have read, please subscribe to their blogs. You won't regret it.
These three articles will give you plenty to think about for quite a long time.
Compassion is Life
Compassion is not a part of life, or a way of life. It is life, as it is lived.
It is not anything more or less than that.