From the work in progress Life: A Book About Learning to Live
By Jim Rosemergy
Compassion is knowing there is only one great soul.
Some people say that compassion is feeling what another person feels, but who can actually sense what moves within another person? All experience is personal. However, perhaps compassion is to know what we feel when we witness another person’s pain and suffering. Only those who know their own feelings can be compassionate. Those who cannot feel cannot be compassionate.
To have compassion is to have passion for other people — not the passion for oneness with another’s body, but a mystical oneness that intuitively knows that those who suffer are a part of us, that we are not free until all are free. Having compassion is not just helping to free others from suffering, but to be willing to enter into their suffering. It is to be willing to suffer with them. It is to look into the tear-filled eyes of another even as our own eyes are moistened with tears.
There are more important things than being free of suffering. The greater possibility is to discover inner resources while in the midst of the pain. Once I received a letter from a woman who was curious why spiritual publications hardly ever report unanswered prayer. She wondered why it’s always the miracle or the desired result that is published. Her question was, “What about those of us who are not healed? What of those of us who experience chronic pain?” She continued by saying that she thought people often discover inner resources such as persistence and patience when they are not healed or the miracle does not happen. This, she reasoned, could be a greater gift than the so-called miracle.
Compassionate people realize this. Their quest is not healing, but being present with another person knowing that an inner strength and power are preparing to surface. Who would not want to witness their emergence?
To be compassionate is to realize that other people are a part of us. To turn our back upon them is to fragment ourselves, and wherever there is fragmentation, we will see that there is passion for our lesser self rather than the self that is everyone. Compassion dies when we are viewed as separate people in pain, but is resurrected from the dead when it is known that there is only one great soul.