Friday, December 9, 2011

12/9/11—Showing Compassion, Regardless

Today's Draw Special Edition, Part Deux: The Fly at the Window from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. Do you think compassion is only for the deserving? Who judges what is deserving and what's not? And can you slip into another's streams without getting lost?
Gah! Yesterday I told you I'd do part two of this entry for tomorrow (Saturday), but that is usually the day I do the weekend reading. So guess what? You get a bonus Friday entry!

Yesterday we talked about slipping into the stream of spirit, where you connect with the divine intelligence and allow it to guide you. It sounds like something you'd have to study for years to do, but it's really as simple as just stopping the struggle against the flow of your life. Somewhere along the line we were taught that we have to control everything in our worlds and it's just not true. We just have to make steps toward what we want and let the universe do the rest—AND trust in the wisdom of whatever that brings. So that's what "getting in the flow" or "entering the stream" is all about. 
The reason I split this into two entries is the beautiful way the author defined compassion. He says it's "entering the stream of another without getting lost." How amazing is that? Entering into the stream of another without getting lost. 

There are many who think compassion is only for the "deserving". And someone, somewhere along line distinguishes "deserving" from "undeserving", I suppose. But compassion is for everyone. I've been criticized many times in my life for having compassion for "undeserving" people. In a conflict between two sides, for example, I'll be able to see the pain of both sides and have compassion for both. 
People always say they don't expect you to pick sides. But they do. And the side you're supposed to pick is the one deemed more deserving. Compassion should flow only to that side. And if compassion flows to the other, as well, you're a traitor, playing both sides or sitting on the fence. Well, I'm OK with being criticized for thinking that's a big, stinky load of bullshit. Everyone is equally deserving of compassion. We are all children of spirit. We all have pain. We all feel misunderstood. We are all. Worthy. Of compassion. 
When Mark Nepo says compassion is slipping into another's stream without getting lost, that's the same as saying "feel compassion, but don't bend who you are while doing so". Sometimes I see people willfully hurting others in the act of what they call compassion for another...using compassion for one as an excuse to be nasty to another. That's getting lost in another's stream. Unless, of course, being nasty is part of your stream. My guess is it's not. 

There have been a number of times in my life that I've lost friends because I've maintained an integrity—a loyalty—to what I believe. Like it's not nice to be mean to others, under any circumstance. Or you shouldn't tell secrets you've promised to keep. Or you shouldn't tell lies just to save your ass. I can't say I've never done any of those things. We probably all have. When I do that, believing as I do, I lose my integrity. And anyone who would ask or expect me to lose my integrity for them isn't a friend. 

Compassion is not something you have to prove to others. It's not saying "I approve of your actions." Nor is it a weapon you wield by witholding. It's something that comes from the soul part of you. The part of you that recognizes that even those who are considered "evil" are of God and suffering from their separation. It's the part of you that sees their pain and sorrow, even when it's hard to find. And the part wise enough to acknowledge the thin line that separates "good" from "bad" and sane from crazy, and feels bad for someone who can't keep from crossing over that line. Even if we can't empathize or know how they're feeling based on personal experience, we can nonetheless, genuinely say "I'm sorry you're in such pain right now". Regardless of what we think of them as a human being.

We slip into someone's stream without losing ourselves. And I'd go so far as to say that neglecting to find compassion for another *is* losing ourselves. It's losing sight of our common soul, the human struggle and the oneness we share as children of God and the universe. It's saying we're in a position to judge.
So if anyone out there ever wonders where I stand when it comes down to choosing sides, that's where I stand. I may agree with one side more than another. But I have compassion for both sides and will demonstrate compassion for both sides. And I will act in integrity with the way I believe about moving through this world. And if that makes me disloyal in your eyes, I'll take it. Because being any other way is being disloyal to myself.

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