Excerpt About Compassion

The Real Function of Compassion

Yes, he told the truth. And that’s the real function of compassion. The point of compassion is not to eliminate suffering, but to lead a person to the truth so that she will be able to live the life of truth. This is an important fact that we tend to not see because our ideas about compassion are not accurate. Look for yourself. What kind of compassion have you believed in and acted from? For most of us, it’s obvious where our prejudice lies. Our compassion has not been on the side of truth; it has been on the side of feeling good. This is not the compassion of Essence; it is the compassion of emotions. It is understandable that it hurts to see someone hurting. You may also feel compassionate towards yourself when you are hurting; this compassion helps. So what is the relationship between hurt, truth and compassion? Compassion is a kind of healing agent that helps us tolerate the hurt of seeing the truth. The function of compassion in the Work is not to reduce hurt; its function is to lead to the truth. Much of the time, the truth is painful or scary. Compassion makes it possible to tolerate that hurt and fear. It helps us persist in our search for truth. Truth will ultimately dissolve the hurt, but this is a by-product and not the major purpose of compassion. In fact, it is only when compassion is present that people allow themselves to see the truth. Where there is no compassion, there is no trust. If someone is compassionate toward you, you trust him enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to see the truth rather than reject it. The compassion doesn’t alleviate the pain; it makes the pain meaningful, makes it part of the truth, makes it tolerable.

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