My latest post at the Interdependence Project’s website is up. This one looks at the three types of compassion:

The starting-point “definition” of compassion is that it is a “wish for sentient beings to be free from suffering.” As many others have noted, the etymology of the English word compassion points to the meaning “to suffer together with.” Learning to “suffer with” another is a very important preparation for developing the “wish to free” a sentient being from suffering: if we can become willing to let the pain of others really touch our hearts, we will be setting the stage for allowing our compassion’s creativity to come forward. That willingness could be nurtured at first by the basic practice of sitting meditation. When we sit, one of the capacities we are developing is not to let our heart of empathy become buried or unnoticed due to our mental chatter.

The next stage that follows the bravery of “suffering with,” or deeply opening ourselves to the suffering of another being, is strengthening the wish to help them become free from that suffering. Here, we can make both an aspiration that this being will be freed from their pain, and an intention or pledge to take an active role in that process. The instructions that I’ve heard for this stage say that we shouldn’t analyze whether or not it is possible for us to help the being we are thinking of. We should simply take the leap fully with our heart and mind and say: I will do it. I will act so that this being will become free from suffering.

For the full article, please click here!

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