Compassion is the next heart energy. It is what arises when we turn a friendly, loving connection towards suffering. Compassion, like lovingkindness, is often misunderstood. We use it more like pity or sympathy- feeling sorry for ourselves or others. Everything about a difficult situation screams something is wrong but the concept of “wrong” is often a distortion of mind. In this confusion, we expect that life should be leading us towards a positive, satisfying place to rest. We see difficulties as interruptions which trick us into looking for ways to correct the problem and get us back on the right course. But if this were true, why would we need the capacity of compassion. We just need to suck it up, be a man, be a big girl, be an adult (pick your saying) and get on with it. Its no wonder we see so much fault and criticism in ourselves. Given that often the “interruptions” arise in conjunction with the conduct of others, where we have absolutely no control.
In reality, there is no hidden right course that we just haven’t found yet. No positive satisfying place is out there in the future. Whatever rest or freedom from a difficult situation must exist within the difficult. Why else would Buddha consider “suffering and the end of suffering” the same thing. We often miss this because of our habits of mind. We react habitually within the assumption that difficult is bad. To the mind, difficult, challenging, scary, etc. situations will always seem bad and bring with it the impulse to change or get away.
Practice, however, is about turning into the difficult and to do that we need compassion. Compassion, fueled by lovingkindess, is what enables us to pay attention to our relationship with difficulty. We need to be still with the mind’s judgments, the impulses and emotions long enough to see the promised freedom that lies beyond it. This week we’ll explore how to be in this stillness without getting swallowed up by the mind’s fear.
See you Thursday.. Tuere