In our daily lives, how much do we actualize compassion?
We all agree that compassion is wonderful. At the practical level, when we engage in compassion, the karma of two individuals is involved. Compassion is not clear-cut in this situation and it often becomes naive compassion or compassion that lacks skillful means. Usually, the details of the individual’s karmic situation distract our compassion and slow down our good intention. How do we prepare for this?
Our daily meditation on compassion prepares us to navigate the karmic chaos of the two individuals.
We should ask ourselves: is our daily compassion meditation directed towards this specific individual or is it very broad? Our daily meditation on compassion should be very broad. Although common thinking suggests that we should bring the specific person into our meditation and rehearse, the minute we narrow down our compassion meditation, when we become very specific, it does not work. Individualizing compassion actually contradicts compassion practice.
Let’s take the example of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is an individual who practices compassion. One sentence that His Holiness says very consistently is, “We are all the same. At the superficial level we are different, but on the human level, we are all the same. “ His example gives us the way to connect with the world and with humanity. His Holiness says, “Whether I meet a homeless person or a Governor, I don’t feel different towards them. I am just seeing another human being.” Of course, that does not mean that he ignores details. But when he connects initially, the governor becomes secondary, the homelessness becomes secondary. The human-ness becomes fundamental.
Sometimes we meet individuals who may have strong opinions that contradict with your own ideas. Usually, we think that person is negating our own idea, and we create this separation.
Compassion does not ask us to ignore what is happening. We should acknowledge it. But compassion asks us not be distracted by that. Also, we need to see this as a person who has different ideas. When we look at this with a narrow mind, we squeeze the person and his ideas into the same phenomena.
Compassion meditation is a rehearsal and strengthening of our connection with all people at a very basic human level. It is not about specifics. Sometimes, meditation on compassion sounds like meditation on suffering, but it actually comes down to how we connect: we need to connect without an agenda, regardless of the person’s title or appearance.
That is also how we connect with our self. This becomes the foundation for strengthening our human emotion and awareness so we are able to overcome the superficial, conventional layers that distract our compassion.
Individuals who have this kind of strength or mentality, are well prepared to handle the chaos of the individual’s karmic situation. When specific karmic issues arise, they don’t buy into the specific details. They are at ease with them. They do not ignore the situation, but they do not buy into it either. That is not the core value of how they connect. The specifics are there, but they are not a hindrance for connecting with the individual. This is compassion without distraction.