June 7


Today's Quotation:

Rest assured that, generally speaking, others are acting in exactly the same manner that you would under exactly the same circumstances.  Hence, be kind, understanding, empathetic, compassionate, and loving.

Gary W. Fenchuk

Today's Meditation:

It's so easy to say that "If I were in that situation, I would. . . ."  When we see the ways that other people are acting, it's tempting to see ourselves acting in much more acceptable, mature, responsible ways if we were in the same situation.  It's easy for us even to tell people how they should act or feel when something has happened to them, based on how we think we would feel, and what we think would be best for them.

When we do this, though, we lose compassion for them.  After all, compassion is understanding how people feel, or sharing their pain, and not minimizing their pain by thinking they should be acting differently.

Yes, we might act differently.  We might not spend as much time pining if a loved one leaves us; we might not mourn as deeply at the loss of a loved one or of a job.  But that's because we are all different.  When someone is down and hurting, the things that help them the most usually are kindness, understanding, empathy, compassion, and love.  Judgment and suggestions to act differently usually don't help much.

We're all human, and we have to assume that we're all trying our best to be the best humans we can.  If you were to have the same shoulder pain as your friend, you may focus just as much on the pain as your friend does, no matter how much you think you'd be able to grin and bear it.  The fact is that if we don't feel it, we can't know it; if we don't know it, it's inappropriate for us to be anything but caring and compassionate.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Have you ever thought someone was exaggerating a pain, but then experienced the same pain and found out how much it really hurt?

2.  Why do we tend to judge rather than understand and feel compassion?

3.  How can we remind ourselves that others are probably acting the same way we would under given circumstances?

For further thought:

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.

Thomas Merton

more thoughts and ideas on compassion



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