“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
Compassion. The art of reducing suffering. I think the hardest part about compassion is realizing the long-term effects. Lying can relieve you immediately, yet cause you greater suffering later on. It is difficult to swallow the fact that sometimes compassion is causing pain now in order to reduce future pain. To be compassionate, we must be brave. Brave enough to have the difficult conversations. Brave enough to risk looking like a fool. Brave enough to say no to oneself. Compassion is one of the most difficult arts to master…
Below is my mind map of compassion this week.
When I first think of compassion, I think of curing the sick or feeding the hungry. Luckily, I do not encounter those pains frequently in my life. This forced me to think of other types of suffering. I helped Abbie leave her comfort zone by being her accountability partner. I helped myself stop thinking about the negatives of my 8th grade project by setting up positive questions to guide my reflection of the experience. Roz was taken to the vet and checked over. Sadly, she has lost some teeth and I am attempting to set up a brushing regimen to, hopefully, save the rest of her teeth. I also apologized to a student after pushing him back into my classroom, which helped reduce my suffering at least. Hopefully his suffering too.
Once we slow down and think about life, almost everything we do is to avoid some type of suffering. We should be grateful whenever our suffering is solely boredom. Being sick or starving are much worse alternatives!
Something that just popped into my head is an easy way to live a compassionate life. Continuously ask the following question: How can I help my community? You can change community to myself, my friends, my family, or my coworkers. But, if you are helping, then you are acting compassionately.
Next week, we will be focusing on community. What will you do to help our community?