“Compassion is the wish-fulfilling gem
whose light of healing spreads in all directions.” (Sogyal Rinpoche)
One evening, I was walking home when I heard a child crying loudly from somewhere behind me. As the anguished cries continued unabated, I heard the hurried footsteps of someone fast approaching me with a “harrumph” and turned my head to see an irritated woman. She explained without prompting, “I have to walk fast because it’s breaking my heart.” With more than a hint of annoyance, she quickly added: “Just pick him up and comfort him!”
Wow! What a concise teaching on compassion. Acknowledge the pain of another, let it touch your heart, put yourself aside to be there for them, and offer caring or comfort, without judgment, to alleviate their suffering. That is compassion. When someone is suffering: “Just pick him up and comfort him!”
The call of compassion is urgent. It’s wired in our brains thanks to mirror neurons that allow us to know what others are feeling.