May 20      

Today's quotation:

Nothing helps us build our perspective more than developing compassion for others.  Compassion is a sympathetic feeling.  It involves the willingness to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to take the focus off yourself and to imagine what it's like to be in someone else's predicament, and simultaneously, to feel love for that person.  It's the recognition that other people's problems, their pain and frustrations, are every bit as real as our own--often far worse.  In recognizing this fact and trying to offer some assistance, we open our own hearts and greatly enhance our sense of gratitude.

Richard Carlson

Today's Meditation:

I would truly like to consider myself a compassionate person, but I'm not sure if the label fits.  I try, and I think that I'm closer to being compassionate than many other people on this planet, but I honestly believe that I have a way to go before I can consider myself to be a compassionate person.  Too much else gets in the way-- judgment, doubt, self-interest, and indifference, to name just a few things.

I'm not criticizing myself for not being as compassionate as I'd like to be.  I'm simply acknowledging the fact that I'm not as far along the road to compassion as I could be.  I started late in life even realizing just what compassion is and trying to work towards it as an ideal, and I've come a long way so far-- but I still have quite a ways to go, I believe.  But the journey most certainly is worth it.  Becoming a compassionate person is one of the very best things that I can do for myself and for the people whom I love and with whom I have contact.

Our compassion is one of our greatest contributions to the world in which we live.  When we share our love compassionately, we add greatly to the lives of others, and we help them to feel hope, caring, and love.  Our compassion is our trying to understand why others do what they do and not blaming them for it, but simply observing and accepting it.  Our compassion shows that we accept others without condition, and that we are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because we're trying to understand what they're going through rather than responding simply to their actions or words.

It's easy to judge other people for what they do and say; it's not as easy to try to understand them and to try to feel what they feel so that we can comprehend their words and actions better.  When we are able to be truly compassionate, we add greatly to the world in which we live.  One day, I hope to be a compassionate person and add more positive love to this world.

Questions to consider:

What does compassion mean to you?  Are you compassionate?

Why does Arthur equate compassion with emotional maturity?

Who are the most compassionate people you know?  What do they have in common?  How do they treat other people?

For further thought:

Compassion is the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity.  It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and the deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment.

Arthur Jersild

more on compassion



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