I have been reading – and re-reading – the 25 qualities of the Unified Field, the Divine Matrix – as they are described in Vedanta teachings. Amongst them are the Infinite Organising Power, Perfect Orderliness, Pure Knowledge, Infinite Creativity, Perfect Balance, Infinite Silence and, of course, compassion. Sufi’s say compassion is the most beautiful way of all the ways in which love is expressed.
There would not be much point in writing this article if it were merely an academic exploration of this divine quality. My passion is always to write about topics in such a way that they offer self-understanding and encourage you, beloved reader, to live with more love and freedom, closer to knowing Who You Really Are.
So how we can we understand compassion beyond what is said in various scriptures. It is partly empathy, our ability to recognise the suffering of others and to feel with them. It is partly loving kindness and has to be experienced through an open heart. More than anything, it is loving acceptance: acceptance of things, people, experiences and situations just as they are. It does not mean pity or sorrow, it simply means acceptance without conditions.
Compassion never judges. It does not take the point of view that anything is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. One person is big, another is small, somebody is moral, another immoral, someone is praying and mediating, another is stealing. That’s just how it is.
This meaning of compassion is completely in the new consciousness paradigm. There are no commandments like ‘You have to do this or that. Stop thinking about yourself’. True compassion has no prison of ‘ought to’s’, ‘musts’, ‘should’s’ or ‘but’s’. There is no controlling, no perfectionism, trying to achieve or getting things right. It is just acceptance. This acceptance is so total you do not even call a thief a thief, or a corrupt person a corrupt person. From this point we also let go fear and greed. There is no heaven or hell.
On one of my courses I give participants a very simple chart to complete. They evaluate themselves in a few areas such as professional, romantic, athletic and educational achievements and artistic talents. I ask them to rate themselves in 4 simple categories: really good, good, fair and really bad. They have a very short time to fill in the form. The point of this exercise is that the ticks on the paper are far less important that the thinking and feeling that goes behind it. Anything less than perfect, not marked ‘really good’, can be a judgment and the only way we judge ourselves is because we have compared ourselves with someone or something else outside our experience. The point of sharing this with you is that we are our toughest critics, we are ruthless with ourselves. We have no compassion.
It is time for unconditional acceptance of ourselves and perhaps this is our biggest challenge. There cannot be any ‘If’s’ or ‘but’s’, no ‘I will accept myself when …’ Fill in the blank! It could be ‘…when my stomach is flat,’ ‘… when I’ve lost those wrinkles’, ‘…get that promotion’, ‘…have that relationship’. Compassion is accepting ourselves right now, just as we are. We deserve unconditional acceptance. It sounds so easy and yet it is so challenging. You might ask ‘But how can I accept myself when I am so full of flaws? I was abrupt with someone on the phone, impatient with a beggar at the door, I lost my temper, I feel unworthy.’ These flaws become irrelevant when you are in acceptance of yourself, embracing yourself with empathy, loving kindness, understanding and … compassion.
The truth is we cannot have true compassion for anything or anyone else until we have it for ourselves. I know many who believe they are deeply compassionate and caring because they are trying to save the whales or the rain forests or the world in general. Some even try to save lost souls! But these activities do not always come from true self-acceptance. With compassion we don’t try to change anything. There is no trying to save anyone, just complete respect and honouring.
Let’s look at this in the context of a common experience in South Africa. We feel sorry for the beggar in the street and we think “But isn’t this the right feeling to have?’ Try another approach. How about compassion, honouring and admiring him? ‘Wow, he has dived so deep into his journey, into the illusion, that he is begging on the street. What incredible courage. Namaste to him’. With pity for the beggar we look at the surface. How do we know he is not an enlightened being in training? Many masters experienced severe deprivation and suffering before they ascended.
Have you heard the words ‘All is well with the world. Everything is unfolding just as it should.’ That is a statement of absolute compassion. It means everything is going to work out. All energy seeks resolution, consciousness evolves. It is natural spiritual physics. Compassion is understanding that the world is exactly where it should be right now. Exactly. I can hear you say ‘How can this be? There is so much chaos, poverty, war.’ Yes, absolutely but all is moving perfectly towards resolution and harmony. Some of our problems may not be resolved for the next 300 years or more. Does it matter? We are in a process. There is nothing to resist, nothing to correct, nothing to fix. If we hold to that consciousness everything will automatically re-balance itself. It’s as though we get out of the way and the characteristics of the Unified Field, of God if you like, can take charge.
It is when we tinker and judge that things get out of balance. Every time we criticise or blame it is as though we are adding a spade of fertiliser to the problem, helping it flourish because we are actually feeding duality, the dark and the light, or separation consciousness, as it is often called.
Have you noticed how we flourish when we are totally accepted by someone? We relax, we can be completely ourselves because no-one is judging us. The ultimate act of compassion was exemplified by St. Francis who kissed the leper. He did not see a repulsive being but a brother and a soul. If we were to greet everyone with the word ‘Namaste’ (I salute the divinity in you) we would let go all judgements and blame. Our world would be different. We would also be able to be truly happy and peaceful because there would be nothing to rail against. But as a wise man said “If you cannot feel compassion for your neighbour then forget it. It has nothing to do with anybody in particular. It has to do with your own inner state.”
Namaste to you!