This is the follow-up to my Add a little Love – post.
What exactly defines a compassionate person? Is it the way he behaves? Is it the way he thinks? Is it the way he gazes upon you? Is it the way he understands that everything and everyone is connected?
I think it is a good compilation of these and many other factors.
Due to the lack of solid knowledge, I am going to let the Dalai Lama take the lead.
*This following text is taken and translated directly from the book “The Art of Happiness” – of Howard C. Cutler based on an interview with the Dalai Lama*
Give it a go maestro!
“In our everyday life we often associate compassion with emotional bonds. The feeling of having control over another person and that he has control over you. – To love to be loved in return. – Giving care or attention to get it back. This kind of compassion is pretty selfish and restricted. Any relationship based on this logic alone, is in the long run unsustainable. A relationship built on the perception of the other as a friend sure can produce a certain emotional attachment and feelings of closeness, but at the slightest negative change in the situation, an argument perhaps, or just something that makes you angry, then our mental projections suddenly change, and the perception of “my friend” will not exist anymore. It must then be evoked by multiple positive situations again. It may also be that the emotional bond vanishes, and the feeling of love and sympathy can as a result turn into hatred. Love or compassion built on this kind of bond can thus be closely linked with hatred. “
Yes, it sounds a little harsh when you just read it. At least it did in my head, when I read it for the first time. But since then I have reflected and challenged the idea, and I found that it simply is pure common sense, what the good old Lama writes. He continues:
“However, there is another type of sympathy, which is free of such bonds. That is true compassion. This kind of compassion is based not so much on whether that person is dear to me or not. It is built on the understanding that all humans have an innate desire to be happy and avoid suffering, like myself. And like me, they also have a natural right to have this fundamental desire fulfilled. On the basis of this realization of equality and community, one will develop a sense of affinity and closeness to others. On this foundation, you can show compassion, whether you consider the other person as friend or foe. This kind of compassion is based on everyone’s fundamental right, rather than your own projections. “
The joyful Tenzin Gyatso continues to explain:
“It shows that to distinguish between these two types, while cultivating a responsible compassion is extremely important in our daily lives. For instance in marriage there is generally an emotional bond. But I think if there simultaneously is a portion of genuine compassion based on a mutual respect for each other as humans, the relationship will be much more resilient. What the modern society is used to today, is usually pure emotional bond only, and that may be the reason for many relationships to break.
For instance: if you see a fish, kicking violently with a hook sticking out through the neck, you may spontaneously experience a feeling of not wanting to endure the fish’s pain. That feeling is not based on any special connection with this animal, like “oh, this animal is my friend.” In contrast, your feelings in this case, are based on the simple fact that this creature also has feelings, may experience pain and have the right not to experience such pain.
This kind of compassion is not dominated by lust or emotional bonds, and is healthier and more resilient.”
All right – I know that it’s a fish. But it is strongly related to how we humans act towards one another. So to sum up – try your hardest to find a healthy balance between emotional compassion, and “ethical” compassion – and you will find yourself living an easier life. Keep in mind that we all have the right to happiness and the right to not to suffer.
After thinking this trough, I asked myself: “if I find the perfect balance between the two kinds of compassion, will I then find infinite love? Will losing the interest for a girl mean that I have failed to find this balance?” – After a few moments of closed eyes and nothingness, I figured it all out (at least that is what I think).
Love sometimes has an expiration date – and when it comes, nothing can stop it. One can try to delay it, but it may never really be the same again. This whole compassion thing is not about perfection; it’s about improvement.
It’s all about how our reaction to a break-up comes out, and how it feels. And it’s all about using compassion as a foundation for love to grow upon – not expecting it to be perfect.
I have many friends who break up with their boy – and girlfriends, and almost everyone tries to get on with their lives by building up anger, dis-attachment or frustration towards their ex. But I have learned, that saying “thank you for this great opportunity to learn about you, me and love. And I wish you all good on the way” – simply is a much more comfortable state of mind. Some say it is cynical, but I say it is reasonable.
What do you think about all of the above? Have you got anything to add or are you confused?
Don’t be shy ;) Just post a comment below! :)