Although I think of myself as a compassionate person, I learned a lesson recently that made me wonder.
I know a very wealthy woman. She and her husband own multiple homes and have millions in financial assets. However, she thinks they are poor and talks as though they are destitute. Often when she hears of someone traveling or going somewhere exotic, she’ll say “oh, I wish we had the money to do that.” This sounds very odd to anyone who knows them because they could travel the rest of their lives and never spend all their money.
Sometimes I think to myself “if I had that kind of money, I sure wouldn’t be worrying.” I have always had such a hard time understanding how she could be so deluded, until today.
My Shocking Epiphany
I was buying groceries this morning and mentally tabulating a list of upcoming expenses, and my mind started rapidly calculating my income versus expenditures, and I felt the small tendrils of fear creep into my belly. It was then that I finally “got it.”
I have a good deal of money in the bank due to the sale of my house, and I don’t have to worry about a thing. But my bad habit of worrying about money didn’t stop just because my situation changed. In that moment I honestly felt compassion towards this woman and understood her for the first time.
It’s not her fault. She isn’t doing it on purpose, she is stuck in a rut of old thinking and bad habits, and she probably doesn’t even realize it. No matter how much money they have, she will probably always feel poor and worry because that is how she grew up and was programmed.
The Compassion Master
My good friend is a master of compassion. No matter who we are talking about, if I make any negative comment he immediately comes back with “well, it’s not their fault, they are doing the best they can, and they don’t know anything else.” He goes onto to explain that he “likes to think of them as a sick person.” This way he can accept them entirely as they are without judgment. He truly means it too; these are not just words; he lives by this creed.
Although I will admit, if I am in a “mood” I find it irritating, but he is right. Not only is he acting compassionately towards these individuals, but he is also benefiting by not forming resentments, anger or feeling the need to control other people. Essentially it protects him, but it is also a spiritual way of living that I aspire to emulate.
Put it Into Practice
I wonder how my friend got to this point where he is not bothered by anything anyone says or does. I wish I could be more like that. For me, it is a slow evolution, and I have to remember his words when I feel the faint signs of anger or resentment forming. I need lots of practice. Thankfully, I deal with a lot of people, and there is plenty of material for me to work on.
It’s such a simple premise, to think of everyone as sick people who are not responsible for their words or actions, and it’s easy to let go of anything they do that hurts us, bothers us or makes us feel bad. Could you imagine if everyone in the world acted that way? No one would ever build up resentments, anger or be hurt. There would be complete and total acceptance of everyone just as they are.
Changing the World Through Compassion
Putting it into practice is easier said than done. But I won’t give up; I am going to keep on trying until someday, hopefully, I can be as compassionate as my friend. I can see the incredible benefits to me and the rest of the world. Will you join me in my effort to become more compassionate and accepting towards others? It can’t hurt, it can only help.