With His Holiness the Dalai Lama coming to Madison soon, I've been revisiting and gravitating towards and trying to grasp his message a bit more fully. That message is primarily one of compassion.
I'll start by suggesting that I'm on the fence and need guidance. If we consider the popular definition of "seeing the pain and/or suffering of another, coupled with a strong desire to alleviate that pain and suffering", I'm probably more of a bastard that I'd like to admit.
Don't get me wrong, I would love for the world at large to ascend to that high vibration where love and Oneness are seen as THE founding inalienable and self-evident truths.
However, in the immortal words of MJ: I'm starting with the man in the mirror. This doesn't mean that if I see someone drowning that I don't try to help. Nor does mean that if I encounter someone who is upset about a parking ticket or a divorce that I take it upon myself to want to change that situation for them.
Every day there are a multitude of opportunities to show compassion to others around us. I get that. But what does it really mean to be compassionate or to show compassion towards others? In the examples above, my judgments are all over that and I know it. A drowning individual's suffering is more worthy of my compassion than someone going through a divorce??? Let's just say that I'm humble and excited to receive.
What I do know is that true compassion is diminished as soon as the small self begins to label, judge, or compare suffering. It is diminished as soon as we bring our need to rank the origin and nature of suffering (physical vs. mental). True compassion, begins in the heart, is experienced by the individual first and foremost as a tie that binds us all. Like love, it has no real need to be expressed with words, unless of course your name is Tenzin.
If you have a few minutes, His Holiness breaks it down here: http://www.dalailama.com/messages/compassion (rrrrrRah!)