(Compassion in action: an 18th-century Italian depiction of the Parable of the Good Samaritan)

 

It feels ridiculous writing about compassion in the way of writing about air or water; writing about them is easy; you can analyze them scientifically, after all, they do belong to the material sphere. 

But writing about compassion? And why does it feel ridiculous writing about it?

There is one big paradox that seems difficult to cross. Here is a side of the paradox:

From one end, if we can measure somehow the intensity and urgency of all the crying, anguish, and suffering that surface above and out of people – the cry for compassion – would be no doubt the most slicing and tearing apart the soul of anyone hearing it.

From the other end, if we looked around in the world with the most powerful spotlights and the smallest flashlight – looking for droplets of compassion – there would either none at all in our world or hardly any. 

Very scarce, very rare, it is a disappearing commodity. 

Animals know how: when one elephant is wounded all the others try to pick him up.

Herd of Elephants Helps an Elephant Calf After Collapsing in the Road - YouTube

Herd of Elephants Helps an Elephant Calf After Collapsing on the Road

 

 If the owner of a dog is suffering or crying it licks his face, but with us, it is very difficult, until it seems that we lost or forgot the ability to do it. And what’s more we do not associate any importance to it. 

 Some come to you pleading for it. In a great crisis, their eyes are crying for some compassion, and we are paralyzed, as though we were asked to talk in a foreign language. But what we have immediately is a replacement: advice. Ohwe are not short of advice. Wherever there is a crying need for compassion – there are dozens of practical pieces of advice as a perfect fig leaf.  

Everyone has advice, but a tiny drop of compassion? 

Women still preserve some of this ability, but generally the disappearing process of compassion is almost done, now the world is almost completely void and empty of compassion.

And if it is seen to be practiced by someone – there are no applauses, no thanks – as though nothing special was done. In this alienated world, it is being perceived with great apathy and avoidance. 

It is absent and missing everywhere, but mostly it is shouting in agony from specific places:

  1. Hospitals: nurses and doctors are there to help the suffering sick people –they help the body but forget the soul, the human being who has a cold and purely technical attitude.
  2. Psychiatrists and psychologists – the clients that are coming in emotional pain and suffering: how much compassion is taking place in the space of the session? For what good is all their learning if their practice does not include much more than 50% compassion?
  3. From grownup children towards their aging (and often with deteriorating health) parents? How much compassion is there? Instead, they are fulfilling a duty. Doing what is expected. But unconditioned spontaneous compassion, like the one they got when they were little children? No.
  4. When we come across a suffering human or one that is going through a crisis – then, compassion should burst out of us immediately like a great bird, flying to reach, hug and embrace the poor suffering person – until the great compassionate eagle’s wings could reach his tormented heart and soul and bring in some healing, peace and comfort.  

 

Most people are convinced that if someone after all, still is doing an act of compassion – he himself does not need any thanks, or a credit for it, for the act itself is his greatest reward. It is a great misconception.

And I would like to share a personal story about it.

There is a woman in her 60s in England, she has had a boyfriend for many years, and one day he got ill with Alzheimer’s Disease. It progressed very fast and very soon he was completely helpless and dependent.

He had relatives and his girlfriend could have left him, or arrange for him to be put in an institute. But she deserted everything in her life and became completely devoted to this lump of meat, (because that is all he is by now), she is fully committed for 24 hours. 

They had friends, only few gave her any appreciation at all for what she was doing.

I heard about it from a common friend, and I asked him to pass to her my admiration and great wonderment of the incredible compassion she is giving to her poor partner. He passed my message to her, and her response was one: she could not stop crying. For there was one person in this world that has some measure of her sacrifices and also has the full appreciation of its real value.

So, my moral here is: even if there are some people who do have compassion, they are still in great need for confirmation and a credit for it. If we do the most noblest of things – we are still in need of credit and support from our fellowmen. 

Everyone needs credit.

Yehuda Amichai

God Has Pity On Kindergarten Children

God has pity on kindergarten children,
He pities school children less.
But adults he pities not at all.

He abandons them,
And sometimes they have to crawl on all fours
In the scorching sand
To reach the dressing station,
Streaming with blood.

But perhaps
He will have pity on those who love truly
And take care of them
And shade them
Like a tree over the sleeper on the public bench.

Perhaps even we will spend on them
Our last pennies of kindness
Inherited from mother,

So that their own happiness will protect us
Now and on other days.

A poem by Yehuda Amichai

 

On Self Compassion:

ייתכן שזו תמונה של ‏טקסט שאומר '‏‎am not meant To be perfect, I'm human Iforgive myself for what did when was still learning may not be where| want yet, but That doesn'T mean |won'T get There They have a right to Turn SELF- me down and do what's best for Them, iT is not reflection of ASSION my worth SAYS @iamhayleykaye have stuff to work on, but I am worth The work made a mis misTake, but am not a mis ake Things didn'T go as planned, but can celebrate Trying my best in whatever way That looks from day to day‎‏'‏

 

Quotes on Compassion

A world without compassion is hell, more so for the soul-people (what is called: highly sensitive persons).

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When you are born you are handled by compassion, when you die of old age you are handled by duty.

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There is one thing for which there should be no forgiveness – where there is a cry for compassion – and no one around is even thinking about the giving of compassion.

*

Too much advice from everyone, but too little compassion.

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