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ABC's of Self-Realization: Catching Compassion

Updated on September 6, 2013
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The definition of compassion: “Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”


"It is the development of compassion toward each other that can change the heart, transform the mind, heal the body and enlighten the soul."
Dr. W. David Hoisington, 2007


I love the definition above: “deep awareness” it says. Compassion is a deep awareness, which is pretty rare these days. Humans are the only species on earth that have the capacity for compassion yet we are the ones that inflict the exact opposite reaction upon one another. With all the violence, aggression, anger, and hatred glaring at us from the news, movies, and TV shows, it is no wonder the world “has come to this.”


Still, that isn’t a totally legitimate excuse. We have a free will. We have a brain with the capacity to think logically. We have a heart with the capacity to feel and share compassion and love, yet we have fallen short of our innate ability to express and spread the compassion we all so desperately need.

Of course, there are many individuals on this earth that do reflect compassion. This article is speaking of those who have forgotten how to do that. Maybe they never had quality examples to look up to. Maybe they had been so abused and neglected that they never had the chance to rise above it and find compassion within to share from without. Somehow, there is still the unending hope that humanity as a whole can achieve a higher awareness of compassion. It’s my belief that even the most abused or neglected people still have the ability express compassion. I have seen it with my own eyes.

When we walk through life with our eyes wide shut, we shade our hearts and minds to the pain of others. We think only of self-preservation. What we forget is that we are all One. We are a part of all others. What we do or don’t do for others is given back to us. It’s the Law of Cause and Effect, or Karma, if you choose to call it that. What is so difficult about giving a listening ear or an hour of your time to help someone else? We tend to say we are too busy, too tired, too wrapped up in our own world to reach out. Yet, we come home from work, eat dinner, then sit and watch all those violent shows on TV for hours before we go to sleep! What kind of sense does that make? How does that benefit someone else’s life, much less our own?

So, what does it take to be compassionate? We always, always have to experience positive acts and awareness for ourselves before we can ever give them to someone else. How we experience compassion for ourselves is different for each person, how we share it with others is also an individual choice. The most important thing on our journey towards self-realization is to take a first step and do something. Just do it. You will be glad you did.

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