Archive for the ‘Compassion’ Category

Other People’s Needs

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

We think we know so well what other people need. Often enough we do. But before we can tell what we know, we must first, paradoxically, forget we ever knew it. We must enter the fire of a person’s living presence and accept the risk of spontaneous, unpremeditated relationship. Only in the midst of the free fall of real personal encounter may we discover, when we least expect it, the wisdom to confront a thorny problem.

Whenever possible, it is best to let others take the lead in correcting themselves. It is surprising how willing many are to do this if only they catch a whiff of genuine love. In this atmosphere, as often as not, the forbidden issue will actually be raised by the other person first, and suddenly we’re invited to give the counsel stored up within us. Alternatively, once we come to know and appreciate others, it may no longer seem so important to give them a piece of our mind!

— Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People, p. 155

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 11, 2018]

Seeing Clearly, With Compassion

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Real love allows for failure and suffering. All of us have made mistakes, and some of those mistakes were consequential, but you can find a way to relate to them with kindness. No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn. Real love is not about letting yourself off the hook. Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 16

[Photo: Keukenhof, Holland, April 17, 2004]

God’s Holy, Perfect Compassion

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Luke makes it even clearer that Jesus defines God’s holy “perfection,” not as vindictive anger towards sinners, but as compassionate love toward all people: “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:35-36). God’s perfection is not in tension with God’s compassion. According to Jesus, God’s perfection is defined precisely by God’s compassion. We must be careful to not import our own ideas of what divine perfection must be into the biblical text, as has so often it has been done. It is hard to take Jesus seriously and still come away with the assumption that God’s holy perfection requires the infinite punishment of sinners, especially when Jesus defines this perfection in the completely opposite direction. Those from the traditional view have quite a task before them in explaining how God can be said to be “kind to the wicked,” as Jesus affirms, and yet still inflict maximal suffering and torment on them.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 19

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 6, 2018]

Embrace the Suffering

Friday, April 6th, 2018

You recognize the situation and help yourself not be overwhelmed by the negative feeling like fear or anxiety. You are still yourself. It’s like a mother: When the baby is crying, she picks up the baby and she holds the baby tenderly in her arms. Your pain, your anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get relief.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, quoted in The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah Winfrey

Compassion vs. Trust

Monday, March 5th, 2018

We never get hurt by too much compassion, but we’re hurt all the time by unwise trust. Compassion makes you less likely to trust unwisely. With compassion you see the depth of other people’s vulnerability and can more intelligently assess his or her defenses against it, which are usually resentment, anger, or some kind of abuse. Compassion must be unconditional in love relationships, but trust has to be earned, especially once it’s betrayed. Compassion gives a couple room to earn trust by disabling the automatic defense system that takes over resentful relationships.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 192

Making the World a Better Place by Loving Yourself

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Loving yourself isn’t vain, being selfish, or thinking of yourself as more special than anyone else. Self-love is about valuing and loving who you are. No one is perfect — not me, not you — but if we loved ourselves, we would focus on what we enjoy and are good at and we wouldn’t worry about the things we weren’t good at or felt inadequate about. We would be much less critical of ourselves and others, less likely to run people down. There would be much less jealousy, selfishness, and greed. Our lives would be simpler and more joyful.

We would, in truth, be fully ourselves, the people we have the potential to be at birth, the people God wants us to be.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 16

Real Self-Love

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Real love allows for failure and suffering. All of us have made mistakes, and some of those mistakes were consequential, but you can find a way to relate to them with kindness. No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn. Real love is not about letting yourself off the hook. Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 16

Compassion over Pity

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Adults in the Toddler brain often confuse autonomy with acting morally or intellectually superior, only to be surprised by the negative reactions to what they think is compassionate behavior. Their presumption of inequality — “I feel sorry for you because you’re incompetent, crazy, abusive, or personality disordered” — will make any sympathetic behavior come off as pity. To a large extent, pity is the opposite side of the coin from contempt. That’s why we hate to feel pitied but long for compassion. You cannot be genuinely compassionate if you believe you’re superior in any way. When heartfelt compassionate acts garner a negative response, you can bet that the behavior, however sincere, was construed as pity. In the Toddler brain, compassion often feels like pity, and pity often passes for compassion. In the Adult brain, compassion is transcendent, freeing us from the prison of self-obsession. We soar above by caring more, not by pretending to be superior.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 189-190.

Better in Small Ways

Monday, November 6th, 2017

If you focus continually on making the world a better place in some small way by improving, appreciating, connecting, and protecting, you’ll develop conviction, stand for something, and model those things for other people. In a small way, you’ll make the world a better place. You and those you love will be happier, your life will have more meaning and purpose, and you’ll create a legacy that will give you peace in your later years.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 165

Give Joy

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

“Hey, remember you are not alone, and you do not need to finish the work. It takes time, but we are learning, we are growing, we are becoming the people we want to be. It helps no one if you sacrifice your joy because others are suffering. We people who care must be attractive, must be filled with joy, so that others recognize that caring, that helping and being generous are not a burden, they are a joy. Give the world your love, your service, your healing, but you can also give it your joy. This, too, is a great gift.”

— Archbishop Desmond Tutu, quoted by Douglas Abrams in The Book of Joy, p. 273-4