Deep down within ourselves we possess a loving-kindness that we oppress. We seek to insulate ourselves from the world that surrounds us. Other people and their difficulties rob us of our self-importance that parades itself as “joy”. We hide within ourselves and our own ego, an ivory tower of security, but therein lies pain and loneliness.
“Look out for number one.”
“She is just crazy.”
“That bum is an addict. He deserves to be homeless.”
“I don’t want to think about it; it’s too depressing.”
“What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be happy?”
“Something is wrong with me, I’m always sad.”
These are things that I have said before, callous, unkind, and foolish.
True compassion lies in deep kinship. When we remove the boundaries that separate us, and we get down in the muck of another’s addictions, depression, and pains, when we experience these things with our fellow humans and suffer with them: that is true compassion. Eliminating our egos and the selfishness of “me” allows us to understand deeply and to love deeply.
I recently made friends with a beautifully compassionate person who was dealing with a great deal of depression and anxiety. One thing after another kept going wrong. As she bore her heart out to me, I felt sad. I do not pity my friend, rather I thought of similar experiences I had endured and recalled the gut-wrenching pain. We hurt together. She was sharing some of her poetry with me, and it was quite expressive of her passions for social justice, equality, and the pain she is enduring.
“You don’t want to hear this one, it’s too depressing.”
I did, and I will wade through these murky waters with her.