Compassion is a good word. There are many dimensions to it. The obvious one would be feeling sorry for someone when they are not doing well. This could be due to illness or stress. But I’ve found a form of compassion in everyday life that has serious benefits. And that would be feeling good for people when things are going well for them. This is may seem completely obvious on paper. But in practice and when practiced in honesty it is a beautiful thing.
It feels like the opposite of jealousy, the opposite of coveting. It is the opposite of the feeling of being left behind.
When I lived in San Francisco, I remember a time when I was cultivating energy and was just blundering into it headfirst. As a person who prefers to understand things through experience, this felt like the only way at the time. There was a distinct conversation that I had with a close friend. I said something like, “The girls around here are getting too beautiful. I want to go away, somewhere secluded. I need time.”
I would see couples and have confused emotions. On one hand I would miss companionship. And on the other hand I had a distorted sense of self and attachment. The whole external-internal world resembled a Sloppy Joe sandwich instead of an orange. As barriers that once acted as pillars of support eroded away, I was faced with the notion of having to repair a cracked and unfinished foundation.
Over time, I’ve found that I was creating my timeline. The stress was coming from my own fear of time itself. Hours in the day, days in the week, years in a life. This type of time has little value and is for machines. When we do work, we are imitating machines. That is a good thing. But to set life goals to this type of time means that I was accepting a system that I didn’t even understand. This is similar to handing over an existence to a set of rules, just for the sake of not wanting the responsibility of actually owning the existence. Because if you don’t own your own existence, then somebody else does.
So when I see beautiful women now. I feel good for them. There’s some admiration and a little sizzle, but the coveting just seems ridiculous. This is even if they are wearing sweaters or something sexy. It doesn’t really matter.
The same works for couples. There is a feeling of almost relief and gladness. By people finding happiness and adding to the cycle of life, we all benefit. This is a good thing.
So where is the compassion? Well, first the compassion had small roots in the self. I had to feel good for my own small steps in life. Letting little victories seem like benchmarks toward a great goal set the framework for actual goals that I did not even originally envision. This was self compassion.
And in engaging in this form of compassion, I was and do feel good for others when they are feeling good. It is a way of amplifying and multiplying what is already there…What should be there, and what always be there.