Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Virtue - Compassion

Third on my list of personal virtues is Compassion.

Compassion is the ability to sympathize with the feelings and situations of others.  When we feel compassionate about the plights of others we gain a desire to try and help alleviate their pain and suffering.  Compassion leads us to a place of unrestricted giving.  Giving to others our time, our ears, our shoulders, our help, and our silence can be the greatest gift we have to offer to those in need.  While Compassion is a selfless act it does come with its own rewards.  When we are actively Compassionate towards others we receive in a turn a feeling of helpfulness and gratitude that can sustain us though our own darker times.  We then feel useful and needed which are very important for each of us to feel if we are to work with and care for others.

The goal of Compassion as a virtue is not to seek out people and situations that appear desperate and try to fix them, that would be contrary to the meaning of the word.  Compassion should come naturally to anyone who allows themselves to feel openly and honestly for their fellow creatures.  Acts of Compassion should always come from the heart and never be regretted, no matter the eventual outcome.  We are all imperfect people and sometimes our most well intentioned efforts can go awry.  This should not deter us or harden our hearts against being Compassionate beings.  Each lesson learned enriches our souls, even if the lessons are hard or painful ones.

Our Compassion is not limited to the plights of our human brothers and sisters, we can and do have great sympathy and feelings for all Terran's as well as our planet.  Being able to feel for the suffering of animals and having the desire to alleviate it is indeed a virtue and shows great strength of character.  I would caution here not to turn this virtue into a vise.  It can be too easy to go beyond our means and sacrifice our own well being in the attempt to help others, this is evident in those who horde animals.  It is not our job to go out and seek the misfortunate, it is not our individual duty to cure all of the worlds ills that is more a collective effort.

We are enriched by the love we have to offer others, our lights shine brighter when we give what we are able.  If all people felt and understood Compassion then there would be a whole lot less suffering in our world.

I will see the world around me for what it is
I will see the needs and sorrows of others
I will always offer help when I am able
I will not sacrifice my own well being

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