Compassion sounds so beautiful doesn’t it. Images of the Dalai Lama and Gandhi spring to mind, of those with wise, compassionate souls, always endeared to looking out for others. How lovely.
Then after that brief moment we’re back to screeching at our kids to get their shoes on, we are groaning as the car in front of us tracks a steady 14km under the speed limit. Cracking it when someone doesn’t deliver part of a project to our expectations.
Perhaps our children were enjoying a rare moment of quiet, watching the sun dance on the wall, to distract themselves from the upcoming drive to school where that mean kid is going to pick on them yet again. The car in front may be driven by a driver who is departing a long night at the hospital where their partner is still, still after 4 sleepless days and nights waiting on news that the doctors and specialists just can’t figure out. Perhaps that team member at work undelivered as their alcoholic parent had another episode, and their anguish and shame is undermining their attention to detail.
Or maybe our kids are just lazy and trying to drive us crazy, that driver is an asshole deliberately attempting to slow us down, the team member careless and a moron.
We don’t know, we shouldn’t project. But we do get to choose – a life of frustration, or compassion. Short tempered, or understanding. Impatient or patient. The not knowing what’s really going on can provide us with the empathy needed to live a graceful life, and allow the people around us to deal with life as they need to in a particular moment.
‘A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty’ Albert Einstein