“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
- Pema ChödrönTweet It!
Compassion goes beyond just having pity for someone (sympathy) or even being able to feel someone else’s pain (empathy).
Compassion is when we sense such a pain and are motivated to actively alleviate it.
The Dalai Lama XIV notably said, “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”
I think he’s right.
It seems like we’re constantly bombarded with news of our differences — our political differences, our religious differences, our gender and racial and ethnic differences. Sometimes, it seems like these differences are insurmountable. But what if instead of focusing on what made us different, we sought instead to understand? To try to see if there’s pain behind the different views and, if so, to try to actively alleviate it?
If there was ever an opportunity to bring society forward, it would make sense for compassion to be the most effective tool for getting us there.
We’re in this together.
P.S. Compassion is a powerful tool and one of 12 themes we have found to be core to living fully and mindfully. Join our annual journey through these themes with a Holstee Membership →
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This article is part of our series on the theme of Compassion.EXPLORE Compassion →
Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.VIEW OUR THEMES →