Tag Archives: dialogue

Compassion in a Nutshell (as promised)

OK, here goes, my stumbling attempt to clarify something that is way out of my league… but someone’s got to do it, and I promised!

Compassion in a Nutshell, as I was taught, how I experience it daily
by    ~burning woman~   expressed by Sha’Tara

What it isn’t:  When I speak on compassion as I was taught by the Teachers and how I experience it, I’m never talking about a common mixture of feeling and emotion, of love, like, attraction, desire, lust, romance, or any of the usual social relationships.  It is none of those.

What it is, point by point:  Compassion is utterly selfless.  Whatever I give to another is entirely for that other, no thought of “what’s in it for me” involved in the transaction.  At the same time I realize that any expenditure of “energy” on my part is immediately replenished and added to.  Since I am fully aware of this now, I have to say that although it seems a contradiction, my motivation is both, selfless and selfish.

Compassion is inclusive.  This needs to be understood very clearly because the compassionate being has no enemies… ever.  What is an enemy?  Obviously someone you fear, either because s/he has hurt you in some personal and real way and would continue to do so, or it is someone your society has demonized.  You fear and you hate.  You want protection or you want to attack.  These are emotional responses.  In this area it isn’t forgiveness that heals, it’s compassion.

Compassion is non-emotional.  In compassion there are no emotional responses.  This also must be clearly understood.  In the previous case of “the enemy” the concept disappears completely if there is no emotional response involved.  Does that mean then that the compassionate person is android-like?  Not at all.  If anything the compassionate person develops and experiences deeper feelings than a normal person.  I find myself constantly reacting strongly to events normal people hardly notice, take for granted or even enjoy.  When I see someone eating meat the effect is mentally devastating, hence why I block any emotional response.  To me all killing is murder and a “piece of meat” was a living, breathing, feeling “other” that a universally false belief backed by emotions, has turned into a billion dollar business from billions of helpless torture victims of “gastronomical” greed.  Hunting, fishing, violent sports such as boxing or sports involving animals in which they suffer or are in danger of being seriously hurt – horse racing for example – these are all stumbling blocks to the empath.  Try to imagine what the truly compassionate feels when confronted with instances of abuse, oppression, rape, genocide, war and mass shootings.  It isn’t just “news” believe me: it’s hell.  You don’t want to go there emotionally or you won’t come back.  Compassion takes care of it by shutting down emotional response.

Compassion does not recognize special relationships.  For a gregarious species this may be the toughest aspect to comprehend.  “You mean I can’t “love” my child more than anyone else’s?” is a typical response.  To a normal person such is unthinkable.  So perhaps it can be explained.  First, compassion doesn’t care who or what you choose to “love” or “hate” because that is neither here nor there.  Compassion, being, shall I say, “higher” in nature and power than all known types of love, overrides those emotions in any case and neutralizes them.  The compassionate being has no use for special relationships, they just cloud the issue.  So if you already have special relationships that need your presence, input and support, compassion will certainly not prevent you from doing your duty.  The difference is that these relationships, these people, animals, things you may own, are not central to your life and do not determine your thoughts and acts.  You are first of all, compassion — not just compassionate — and everything else is secondary.

Compassion is never reciprocal.  Another point that has to be clearly understood.  Most if not all Earthian relationships exist within some form or reciprocity even if it’s just a form of recognition for altruistic acts.  Ego (I don’t like using that term but most people understand what is meant by that) is usually involved in normal relationships, from the dependent to the seductive to the gimme-gimme; the protective to the controlling.  I could truthfully say I suppose that compassion is self-rewarding, that it is its own reward.  Indeed it doesn’t take long for a compassionate person to realize how much the practice empowers!  This empowerment is highly beneficial to both, body and mind.  The immune system works better and there is no energy wasted in lust, regret, recrimination, jealousy, competitive behaviour, fear or anger.  There is neither a sense of gain, nor a sense of loss as far as relationships go because compassion overrides the great “need” that drives individuals into exclusive, controlling relationships.

Compassion demands, and feeds, self empowerment.  A crucial point.  No dependent or non self empowered person can claim to be compassionate by nature.  They may express aspects of compassion at certain critical times but much of that will wear out quickly, or wear the person down because in all cases it will be the result of some response to an emotional appeal and terribly entropic.  A compassionate being is a self empowered being for the two go hand in hand.

Compassion results in detachment, not just from special relationships but from “the world” as it is often called in spiritual circles.  Compassion makes it possible to realize the true nature of joy and sorrow.  As with so many concepts, joy and sorrow are usually misunderstood and lumped in with pleasure, fun, happiness and sadness, pain, unhappiness, grief, loss, etc.  Notice that these aspects of happy/unhappy are essentially ego-centered, i.e., selfish.  It is what one feels and gets emotional about.  Properly understood, joy and sorrow come from empathy.  Joy contains all the good being experienced by the world and conversely sorrow contains all the evil being experienced.  As explained to me, Joy and Sorrow are twins, one who walks in the light, one who walks in darkness.  They can only meet when someone provides a bridge between them and that’s what a compassionate person, or being, does.  A compassionate being is never concerned about personal joy and/or sorrow.  Taken care of.

The compassionate walk between the worlds of light and darkness and bridge the two.   That is their greatest accomplishment until they move on away from here to things of higher consciousness of which I know but an inkling and cannot authoritatively speak of.

In a nutshell then, you are who you are at this moment.  You make a decision to become a compassionate being.  Being of sound mind you choose to make that your entire life’s purpose.  Then you open yourself up completely to the “power” or “energy” your irrevocable choice brings to you.  You proceed from there.  You’re on your own for every decision you make and through every “battle” you must fight.  Then you watch yourself become a different person until hardly anyone recognizes you.  And that’s it.

“What if I enter into this thing and I fail?”  one may ask.  I don’t know, honestly.  All I can think of is this: that anyone who enters into a life choice to become compassion cannot fail unless something was held back; there was a degree of “dishonesty” when signing on that dotted line.  This thing I’m presenting here is in a sense a personal absolute.  In and never out.  If you’ve seen the movie “Men in Black” you will remember that signing on meant to become a different person and disappearing from your familiar world.  You lost your name and became a “K” or a “J” or a “D.”  This is something like that except that “you” gradually blend into “Compassion” and that is the new nature you then express to the world.  Crazy, right?

If you were offered the key to saving your world, and your people, from a terrible catastrophe they’re bringing on themselves and you were convinced this was the real thing, what would YOU do?  For me it wasn’t a difficult choice at all.

Best I can do in explaining the concept.

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We’ve got our Backs Against the Wall

                                            [short story, by Sha’Tara]

James Macken closes down his netbook and goes looking for his daughter.  Twelve year old Ellie or “Elle” Macken is leaning on the railing of the cabin’s small patio, looking intently into the night sky.  There is no moon and the stars, this high in the Coast Mountains, shine brightly.  Despite a light breeze blowing from the west, the summer night remains warm. 

His voice breaks the night’s silence, “Elle?”

“I’m over here, dad.”

James walks over to her and leans on the railing, his face following where she was staring.  “What’s up there, Elle?”

“ I don’t know, dad.  I just feel so funny, so detached, all of a sudden.”

“Funny, like how?”  He isn’t joking or pretending.  He’d learned long ago to take his daughter very seriously or else.  She was already a very deep thinker, or perhaps more of a thinking machine.  Her thoughts are her reality.

“Well it’s like this.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly about my future… well really, the future of this world, and however I extrapolate my thoughts on it, I don’t seem able to picture any sane, safe, comfortable or desirable future.  OK, so here we are, out here almost by ourselves in these mountainous wilds and it’s really nice.  Don’t get me wrong, dad, I love it here, and I’m very grateful that you got us this place where I can spend some of my summer vacations, and I wish mom was alive and with us now… but this is an illusion, isn’t it?  We’ve got our backs against the wall, haven’t we?”

“I should understand you by now, Elle, but what exactly do you mean?”

“I mean, dad, this planet has no future as long as mankind, as “we” continue to take over and basically eat it alive.  We are a disease, dad, can’t you see?” 

James Macken is no fool.  He knows exactly what his daughter is saying and he’d be the last person to contradict her observations.  In a purely technical sense, she is correct: man is destroying the world, the only world he knows, or can have on which to live.  Man is destroying his own living space without the least hope of gaining access to another should this one become unlivable.  But he’s a forty-two year old research scientist while his child is but a twelve year old who has yet to commit to any discipline.  She’s expressing her emotions about what she sees, hears and reads.  He’s thinking that perhaps with puberty in the offing she’ll give more attention to another side of life: romance, and girl stuff.  But then, some never do, and based on her IQ scores it could well be that Elle may not pay much attention to that side of life.  

“I’m not certain you’re giving us a chance here, Elle.  Not everybody is a destroyer of nature.”

“Of course I know that, dad.  Most of my teachers are quite keen on making us aware of the problems this world is facing in the immediate future – that being my future – but you know?  Most of the kids just smirk, or laugh, or ask really dumb questions, especially when we discuss climate change, for example.  People really don’t care, dad.  And you know what’s the saddest part?  Those who make the laws, the politicians; those who sell stuff, the corporations, it’s the “don’t care” crowd they rely on for votes and consuming!  So, how can anything change?  How can anything get better?”

“You care, don’t you?  There must be others like you in your school?”

“Not many.  What if we were one in a hundred – what sort of balance is that?  We can talk but then we’re made fun of and ostracized.  Most kids can’t go it alone, dad.  They need friends and they’ll do almost anything to have friends.  So, statistically, the “don’t care” crowd, being the vast majority, forms the winning pool and those who care stop caring to fit in.”

“Sometimes when I listen to you, I think you were born old, Elle.  I love you, you know that, don’t you?” 

She puts her arm around his waist and looks in his face; “I know dad.  I know.  But I’m growing up fast and soon I’ll be on my own, having to live with myself.  I’ll be the product of my own thoughts and I’ll have to confront a world that is totally alien to the way I think.  You know what dad?  I’m truly scared.  So scared that often I think I should just, you know, call it quits and leave…”

“Elle!”

“I’m being totally honest with you dad.  When mom died, I nearly did it; I wanted so to follow her.  But you were there, as you’re here, and I didn’t want to leave you behind and I knew you wouldn’t come after us, so I stayed.  But for two years I haven’t been able to shake the idea that perhaps I would be much better off if I died.  How can I really live if I can’t see a future for myself?  What’s to live for, dad?  All the things I love and care about are being killed and destroyed.  The world, my piece of the world, is becoming noisier, dirtier and more dangerous all the time.  Something’s so wrong.  There’s what they call “degeneracy” happening all around and the more of that there is, it’s like stepping in swamp mud, you don’t know how deep you’ll sink or if you’ll be swallowed whole.  On top of that you’re getting older too, and you will die and then I’ll have nobody, nobody at all.  That’s not a challenge to me, that’s a nightmare.”

“You’re not alone in that, Elle.  But I think you’re both, over-thinking, and under-thinking this whole thing.  Isn’t it possible that in a couple of years you’ll fall in love with a boy who is really nice – can’t imagine you falling for some cretin – and he’ll become your world for a while?  Then you’ll go to college and find some subjects you really like, pursue a career and then meet the man you will want to marry.  Likely you will have kids and you’ll have your own family, make your own world.”

She sighs and leans into him.  He can feel her vulnerability, wishing he had something better to offer her.  “I’ve thought about that dad.  It’s soothing sometimes but it changes nothing.  When I speak of the future, I mean “the” future, not just something I’ll carve out and struggle to keep for myself.  How could I, in conscience, have kids if I can’t give them a real future?  That would be horribly irresponsible of me.  I have to be sure and what I’m sure of isn’t conducive to a peaceful and safe life.  There’s something seriously wrong with all of our lives; with our life as a people, and I really hate it that I’m one of the very few who can see this, and actually cares about it.  I don’t like being alone but I have no choice, see?  And what if I found someone who thought like me, was like me, how could we ever have a happy life knowing, and living with, what we know?  What would be the point of trying to live together if we decided to spend all our time fighting for causes that take us away from each other, or worse, that land us in jail?”

“I’ll be totally honest with you too, Elle.  I truly don’t know.  I know that I love you deeply.  You’re all that I have left of Amber, of your mother, and you’re so like her in many ways, but so different in others.  I admire your intelligence even though it makes it very challenging for me to keep up with you.  I think I’ll stop trying to do that, just try to be your friend for now.  What you say about leaving breaks my heart, but I know you know that.  So instead of panicking about what you may decide to do with your life… I’ll make a friend’s pact with you.  Hear me out and let me know if we have a deal.  If you come to the end of your road, and you are convinced it is the end, I promise not to stand in your way.  You can even tell me that you are leaving, and I’ll let you go.  I won’t help you, and I don’t want to know the details, but I promise to honor your choices, your decisions and most certainly, your memory.  In this, our private world, Elle, you are no longer a child.  Make your own choices and I will support you as best I can.  Deal?”

“Oh, dad, no one can ever have had a better father.  I love you too; I can feel that so deeply.”  And in between deep sobs, she finally managed to say, “We have a deal, dad.  Thank you for giving me my freedom to choose.” 

 

 

The Gryphon and the Poet

griffin1

I wish you good wishes
Said Gryphon from her stony perch
as Poet passed her by in search of inspiration.

Good wishes indeed, and for what?
Replied the Poet with frown and down-turned lip
Annoyed at the interruption to her thoughts.

The night!  I wish you a good and long night
For not another will there be
‘til tomorrow is complete,
done and fully accounted for.

Much ado about nothing,
Replied the Poet scornfully, boastfully:
Of nights and of days
We have many and for some, to spare!

What hubris, said Gryphon;
Only a human would thus speak
So irreverently of time.

But, insisted the Poet,
Are you not Gryphon, immortal, timeless?
What can a day and a night mean to such as you?

They call you a Poet, a writer of wisdom,
growled Gryphon with a deep sigh,
And cannot answer that?  Fie on you!
A journey of a thousand miles
Begins with a single step, not so?

A Truism, bah! A bumper sticker!
Is that the extent of your eternal wisdom, Gryphon?

Foolish human, speak not of what you know naught.
Speak not of eternity, of that
which forever lies beyond your ken.
Do you not see, can you not comprehend,
Immortality is made of days
Each day accompanied by a single night?
What is more sacred, the journey?
Or the road by which the journey is accomplished?

The Poet opened her mouth to reply:
Gryphon put a sharp and heavy claw across her lips:

Silence!  Small-minded, foolish human,
Do not make me entirely dislike you
For I know you would venture a choice,
An opinion borne on wings of ignorance,
Choosing one over the other
As though you cannot see
One cannot be without the other.
Would you have the day without its night?
A bird without its wings?