When I was a little girl growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, I remember one Sunday, perhaps I was about seven or eight years old, my mother’s neighbor and arch nemesis Miss Will had her television on. Her apartment was in the middle of the house, ours was to the left, and another apartment was to the right. I remember staring inside her parlor at the television and seeing a woman in a wheel chair, she was shaking as if having a seizure. Seeing the woman cry while her whole body trembled made me began to cry uncontrollably. I thought I was watching someone suffering and as a child I had no understanding that this was just a film and not real. I had never been able to forget that scene since that day.
My memories as a young child growing up into adulthood has been one of deep empathy and deep compassion for people. I wanted to end the world’s suffering. In my mind I wanted everyone to be happy. I had never expressed how I felt but I know that I grew up wondering if that were at all possible. This character that is innate within me has allowed over time for people to take advantage of my good nature, of my soft heart, of my compassion for all and everything that lives and breathes.
When I became pregnant with my first child and after which my mother told me to leave her house, I cannot say that I ever felt resentment for her at that time. Maybe my brain went into survival mode and I had no time to be resentful but to be honest, I am not a resentful person. It took me years to wonder how come a woman who taught me to be kind, generous, good to everyone, feed anyone who was hungry, all the goodness a parent could teach to a child, how could she have the heart to tell me who had no where to go, to leave her house? But as I have written here before in another post, now that I am older and a little bit more wiser, I realize that she is one of my greatest teachers and had to do as she did so as to set me on my path.
Today I want to talk about compassion. Compassion is: a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering or misfortune. In this world we are always focused on the emotion called love, to which there are many degrees. My own take on the meaning of love is that love is the single most significant element of happiness. Although love may have many variations to it in how each individual feels about a particular person or situation, the word itself is used frivolously by many. It is easy to tell another that you love them, but what I believe is most important in this life, which surpasses love or even the idea of love, is compassion.
Compassion is an emotion so strong that if all could feel it and react to it, it alone could end world suffering. A person who has compassion can never rob, rape or kill. A person who is compassionate can never see someone suffering and pass them by. A person who is compassionate could never harm even an animal. A person who is compassionate knows what real love is.
A person who has innate compassion coupled with empathy for others is the most spiritually wealthy of persons who walk among us. You do not measure people off of materials or stature. The most wealthy of persons in the hierarchy’s of the Universe is one with compassion. So often we either meet or see people who are cold hearted with no feeling whatsoever for anyone but themselves,their response to life is them, who ever matters to them and no one else. Do you believe that a person such as this can ever elevate as how humans are suppose to? I say yes, in some cases. Because many who are like this are here to teach us compassion.
In the Christian Bible, especially in the New Testament where we meet Jesus Christ, if you can read with full understanding of his life you will realize that all he entailed and everything that he did, he was most compassionate. He felt the pain of the world and he wanted to alleviate the suffering of mankind. His own compassion enabled him to perform miracles which were so astounding that it created even enemies and prompted them to kill him. Yet while on the cross he begged God to forgive his own enemies.
The bible wielding pastors have missed the true message of the bible. They preach on love which they say that Jesus changed the ten commandments and made love the number one commandment, but because many do not have the wisdom to know that the bible is only a metaphor for deeper understanding, they are not able to realize that all it taught, from Old Testament to New Testament, was compassion. That is one of the secrets of the bible. But to emphasize this would disallow the would-be rulers and conquerors of the world to rape, rob, and pillage as they did. They would not dare teach compassion. If the basis or the foundation of Christianity was built on compassion, slavery, the wickedest atrocity that has ever occurred, could never have happened. If compassion was apart of Muslim philosophy, there would be no Jihad.
People who do bad things in life, who hurt and injure people, are said to have no love within them. I disagree. I believe we all have love within us. Event he vilest of man will at one point in his life, have loved someone or something. But it is possible to love but not have compassion.
I am in Nigeria, where this country itself is looked upon by the international community as a country with scammers, fraudsters, or what they call here, 419 people. And although it may be too big of a stereotype for a country of over 200 million people, it is a fact there are many people like that here. Not only here but in all of the world. Here, however, you will find a person who is nice, loving and tender to you, be it man, woman or child. I am talking about anybody in general.
But that love that they feel or the genuine like that they have for you will not let them think twice to commit a fraudulent act or scam against you if they find the opportunity. I highlight Africa because I am currently here, but this happens all over the world, even in America. If a person has genuine compassion in their heart, they could not find it anywhere inside of them to fraud someone they believe they love regardless of their economic situation.
However, if you find 1000 people only 5 will have the true and genuine feeling of compassion. Others will have it because they feel it is correct. It is easy to see the commercial of a starving child or to see a homeless person and feel the need to give. But many times this feeling is temporary. Today, you will give, tomorrow you forget. The person with true compassion, however, will not forget. The person with true compassion will take the same route of the homeless person and again hand him money, or clothing, or food or even simply an umbrella.
This person will go home with that homeless person on their mind wondering how can they help? What can they do? Unbeknownst to that person, their own feeling of compassion sparks the wheel of love within the Universe and beckons to him or her millions of light conscious beings that will raise him spiritually, while he or she lives in this material world, to a higher spiritual plane. The kingdom of “heaven,” which you will find this saying in the Christian Bible (a metaphor, of course) is actually the works that the human being performs on earth, their reward will be in the realm of time and space. (Note: Although I do not practice Christianity, I know that there are wisdom in all texts, dogmas or doctrines and therefore I quote the bible merely because of familiarity).
One of the Beatitudes of the bible is “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” but what is the “pure in heart?” The pure in heart, here, represents a person who responds accordingly to their innate feeling to any particular situation without thought or reason. There is no agenda behind giving, there is no agenda behind loving, there is no agenda behind caring, there is no agenda behind even genuine dislike. Whatever emotion their heart sparks is how they respond. The pure in heart is the person who is innocent in all things that they do, even if the world seeks to correct them.
What is the nemesis of compassion? Unarguably, compassion wills it’s own power. Deep emotion, compassion being atop the pyramid of this, can spark a person to perform miracles. A stranger can pass a small child drowning in a river and they themselves cannot swim but are so moved with the emotion to save the child that they will dive into the waters and miraculously swim and save that child. It has been recorded already of persons coming to rescue people that are trapped under a heavy vehicle, finding the strength to lift whatever it is from the person, therefore relieving the person of their pain. Compassion is something you cannot will, it has to happen. It is something that is innate within the psyche, even if they were never taught to be so.
One of the 3 noblest teachings of the Buddha was to not be selfish, pass on knowledge, and have compassion. He never said love, and although love is important, there are variations to this emotion. Many can say “I love you” without a thought or meaning to it. Ifa Orunmila teaches iwa pele, or good and gentle character. Ifa says we must feel for each other. I implore all who will read this post today to look deep within themselves and to find their compassionate nature, to realize and know that we must care and feel for each other, aid and assist whenever and where ever we can.
Yes, it is innate to have a compassionate nature, but if a person finds themselves without this feeling then they should pray that it be added to their character because we are all here in this earth plane on a journey towards our spiritual elevation, which is what matters within the realm of time and space from where we came. If you are found within this life or any other life without having compassion apart of your character or personality, then you can only go so far within your spiritual upliftment. Most of us who are here on this earth, unbeknownst to us, are here to show or to learn compassion.
Posts that I have written on compassion, read below;
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.
Everything comes when it must, and everything happens for a reason, do not hurry your life, what is destined for you, cannot escape you, just keep the faith, be patient and be prayerful, filled with compassion, kindness and respect for all, let these qualities be among your name, God will fill in the rest – Obara Meji