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What is Compassion?

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posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 06:37 PM
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"Compassion literally means to feel with, to suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet everyone tends to avoid it because it's uncomfortable. And the avoidance produces psychic numbing -- resistance to experiencing our pain for the world and other beings." - Joanna Macy


The above quote really made me think. My comments here are based on the basic premise that compassion is good and that we should strive to be compassionate people. I've always thought of myself as compassionate but now I'm not so sure. Much of my life has been spent avoiding the pain and suffering of people that I don't know. When personally confronted with suffering, I don't avoid it but I don't seek it out either.

Does one have to strive to be compassionate? In other words, does one have to seek out pain and suffering in order to be truly compassionate? Is it enough to be compassionate with just those who cross your path? Where is the line that on one side you are compassionate and on the other you aren't? Isn't resistance to pain, emotional and/or physical, a normal human survival trait? Does it conflict with being compassionate?

I guess one must consider the goal of compassion in answering these questions... so, what is the goal of compassion and why is it so important? To me it's important because the other person feels like they're not alone in their pain, which makes it a little easier. So, is it enough to passively apply compassion... apply it to only those who cross your path... or should one seek out pain and suffering?




posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 07:10 PM
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Does one have to strive to be compassionate? In other words, does one have to seek out pain and suffering in order to be truly compassionate? Is it enough to be compassionate with just those who cross your path?
One cannot strive to be compassionate...you cannot pre-determine how much compassion you will feel in a certain scenario, and there is no point in searching for pain and suffering because it would be an endless quest and compassion would probably come to mean nothing to you, you'd loose all compassion. Compassion is something which should happen naturally when the time is right. That quote is merely stating that when such times to occur we avoid feeling compassion, or we avoid ever facing the situation in the first place, we step around it, when it's placed right in front of us. We shouldn't seek out something that really can't be sought after, but nor should we avoid it.

[edit on 4/12/09 by CHA0S]



posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 07:15 PM
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Offering space inside yourself for the suffering of others.



posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 07:41 PM
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I see compassion as caring about other people, as opposed to hating them/being indifferent.

It doesn't always have to do with suffering - like for example, if someone's into say, the weather, and you don't care about it at all, listening to them talk about it because you care about them would be a form of compassion.



posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 08:06 PM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 


The best way that I can possibly respond to your statement is this:

"Life is not fair."

Now, before you get mad at me... allow me to explain myself.


Life is extremely unfair... Reality on the whole does not care what happens to people.

Some get stepped on, some get promoted.

Some get rich, others get poor, and destitute.


Reality is extremely harsh, and Life really is NOT Fair.


That is where compassion comes in.

When you realize that skill, intelligence, productivity, and social ability accounts for very little of what outcome affects our day to day lives.

Most of it is just random.


I love to think of this quote from "The Thin Red Line"

www.youtube.com...=1m8s

"makes no difference who you are, no matter how much training you got, how tough a guy you might be, your in the wrong spot at the wrong time, your gonna get it."

Compassion is about knowing that life is unduly cruel to some, and overly rewarding with others... based on no criteria that actually matter.

But it isn't Life that is doing this, is it?

No... We are.

People are not fair.


Compassion is about understanding that not everyone has had as great an upbringing as you, or the rewards, and privileges as you.

Compassion is... basically... Flipping the bird to "Fate", and screaming to the heavens: "WE MAKE OUR OWN FATE! REALITY MAY NOT BE FAIR, BUT WE WILL BE!"

-Edrick



posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:11 AM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 


Compassion is the skeleton of Love. Fear is the skeleton of Hate.

Anyone who loves naturally feels compassion, its not something you learn to be or learn to feel. I've stated the facts as simply as possible. No need here to elaborate. Be as One, Magantice



posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 07:18 AM
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Thank you all for your responses…


Originally posted by CHA0S
One cannot strive to be compassionate...you cannot pre-determine how much compassion you will feel in a certain scenario, and there is no point in searching for pain and suffering because it would be an endless quest and compassion would probably come to mean nothing to you, you'd loose all compassion. Compassion is something which should happen naturally when the time is right. That quote is merely stating that when such times to occur we avoid feeling compassion, or we avoid ever facing the situation in the first place, we step around it, when it's placed right in front of us. We shouldn't seek out something that really can't be sought after, but nor should we avoid it.


I guess by asking if we should strive to be compassionate I meant should we seek out situations that would allow us to exercise compassion (I.e. those less fortunate than us or those in circumstances of emotional pain, those in need) instead of just going along with our everyday lives and showing compassion to those who happen to cross our path during our everyday lives.


Originally posted by schrodingers dog
Offering space inside yourself for the suffering of others.


Yes, but should we seek circumstances that allow us this opportunity?


Originally posted by Donnie Darko
I see compassion as caring about other people, as opposed to hating them/being indifferent.

It doesn't always have to do with suffering - like for example, if someone's into say, the weather, and you don't care about it at all, listening to them talk about it because you care about them would be a form of compassion.


Agreed. And every parent has practiced this form many times I’d have to say.



Originally posted by Edrick
Compassion is about understanding that not everyone has had as great an upbringing as you, or the rewards, and privileges as you.

Compassion is... basically... Flipping the bird to "Fate", and screaming to the heavens: "WE MAKE OUR OWN FATE! REALITY MAY NOT BE FAIR, BUT WE WILL BE!"


Yes, but isn't it also more active than that? Isn't it a requirement that we reach out and share their pain instead of making excuses? It's easy to say that life isn't fair... but saying so doesn't make it any easier.


Originally posted by Magantice
reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 


Compassion is the skeleton of Love. Fear is the skeleton of Hate.

Anyone who loves naturally feels compassion, its not something you learn to be or learn to feel


Your first statement is beautifully stated.


However your second seems too passive… isn’t the goal of compassion to ease others pain or emotional distress? It would seem that recognizing others’ distress is learned somewhat because it is outside of self. Don’t we teach our children to recognize when others are in need? Don’t we teach them also to recognize situations that they could help with? I guess we may not be teaching them compassion… just more of recognizing situations where they can apply compassion.



posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 11:05 PM
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Too bad Christianity lord and other self indulgent deities lack this.

[edit on 5-12-2009 by GrandKitaro777]



posted on Dec, 6 2009 @ 12:53 AM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 



Yes, but isn't it also more active than that? Isn't it a requirement that we reach out and share their pain instead of making excuses?


Yes, the action was implied... your question was about compassion, which is an emotion.

Emotions are not "Actions", hence I only implied action.

-Edrick



posted on Dec, 6 2009 @ 07:07 AM
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Originally posted by GrandKitaro777
Too bad Christianity lord and other self indulgent deities lack this.

[edit on 5-12-2009 by GrandKitaro777]


Not biting... sorry...



posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by Iamonlyhuman

Originally posted by GrandKitaro777
Too bad Christianity lord and other self indulgent deities lack this.

[edit on 5-12-2009 by GrandKitaro777]


Not biting... sorry...


Ignorance is bliss.



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