Compassion has always been recognised as one of the highest qualities we can attain to in life. It is the living truth that flows from the Awakened Heart where we literally see that all life is One and each is a unique flower on the Tree of Life. It is a way of aligning ourselves with the greater life while we retain our individual uniqueness and authenticity. In the heart’s communion there is only the One, and behind the roles, beliefs, allegiances, and definitions that normally separate us there burns the same flame of love, the same divine life.
Compassion is what lies beyond judgement and resistance. It acknowledges everyone and everything as expressions of the Divine with the ultimate value that flows from the Divine. It enables us to recognise and relate to the other as a whole person rather than as a concept or label. You may see someone as your enemy but he or she is still a whole person like you with the same desires, dreams, fears and cares as yourself. Your enemy also loves his or her family, also wants the best for the future, has also felt hurt and betrayed, and also has unimagined inner resources for forgiveness and healing.

With compassion you know that their pain is your pain, their triumphs are yours, their joys are your joys, their struggles mirror your struggles, and that their brokenness and wholeness are your brokenness and wholeness.

How do we move into that level of communion and compassion? How do we find the balance between legitimate self-interest and the mercy and caring that the heart prompts us to? And how do we heal the fear, anger and separation that have closed our hearts and dried up our life-force?

Compassion is com-passion: to suffer with. In compassion I open my heart to feel what you feel. If you are undergoing pain, I am prepared to feel the same pain in my efforts to support and love you. It means to be so moved that I am willing to give of my life to enhance or even save yours. However, it is not rescuing or martyrdom. Compassion brings discernment as to what actions will help another grow into their true freedom. It may be an act of what is called tough love. It is easy to give a man a fish; it takes a lot more commitment to teach him to fish.

Compassion is natural to us all. An old wise man was sitting on the bank of a river when a scorpion came floating by, drowning in the water. The old man bent over and plucked it out of the water, whereupon it immediately stung him. After a while it fell in the water and was again struggling for its life. Once again the wise one lifted it out, only to be stung again. A third time the scorpion fell in, was rescued, and promptly stung its saviour. An observer, watching all this, asked him why he persisted in rescuing this ‘nasty’ creature. He calmly replied, “It is the nature of a scorpion to sting, and it is the nature of a man to save.” That is compassion in action.

There are so many ways we can cultivate compassion:

Every effort to really understand another is compassion;
The desire to replace judgement with acceptance is compassion;
A commitment to living lightly on the earth is compassion;
The willingness to put yourself out to help another is compassion;
The determination not to criticise is compassion;
The desire to keep your body healthy is compassion;
The readiness to allow another their beliefs is compassion;
To forgive is compassion;
To let go of being right is compassion;
The very desire to cultivate compassion is compassion.

Compassion allows us to transform our relationships. In every relationship difficulty much of the conflict involves each making the other one wrong and responsible for the problems. Each demands that the other must meet their needs in a certain way, and they end up locked into feelings of separation, anger and victimhood. The practice of compassion cuts through all this, and has the potential to restore the sacredness of the relationship.

A commitment to compassion is a commitment to seeing the other with fresh eyes and an open heart. We hold the intention to go beyond the labels, definitions and story we have about that person. These labels and concepts cause us to relate to the other as an object, but compassion will help us go beyond this to feel what the other is feeling. It is to go beyond judgement.

The spiritual energy of compassion sustains the universe so our very existence depends on it. As we look at all our human advances we see it in action over and over. We enjoy a standard of living and so many benefits because of applied compassion down through the centuries. And maybe the national, international and ecological crises we face today will only be solved by the practice and application of compassion.

If there is a problem anywhere in your life there is a need for both forgiveness and compassion. Ask yourself who or what you still need to forgive and how you may show compassion in this situation. That takes courage, commitment and humility but I would suggest it is the only journey really worth taking. You will truly know yourself and find freedom in the compassion of the Awakened Heart.

Author's Bio: 

Clement McGrath brings 32 years of coaching and mentoring experience and a wealth of knowledge to his work. Clement has worked in a variety of roles that have all involved supporting people to reach their full potential and live the life of their dreams.

He conducts his own private practice, has facilitated youth work in a non-profit organisation, has been a contracted provider to a major government department, and director of Life Coach Associates since 2001.

After facilitating Life Coach Associates coach training program for 10 years, he recently stepped aside from that position to focus on creating a variety of programmes that are more accessible to a wider audience.

These include, “Relationship Rescue,” “How to Harness Your Yes Power,” “How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve More,” “Find Your voice: How to Communicate Confidently and Effectively,” and “Awakening to Infinity: A Course in Self Realisation.”

He is available for private consultations and public speaking, and can create customised programmes to address the specific needs of groups and organisations.

Clement is a qualified Breath Therapist, and has studied extensively in the areas of ‘Effective Communication,’ ‘Human Creativity,’ ‘Principles of Peak Performance and Success,’ and ‘Mythology and its Modern Applications.’

He has co-authored the book, “The Way to Freedom,” and is currently completing a book on healthy fulfilling relationships that he intends to have published in 2015.

Clement lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, with his partner Heather Fletcher.

Contacts for Clement are:
0064 3 355 2297
0064 272 033 694