“Compassion… is a recognition, a knowing, a way of being with another. It is not my work to fix you; it is my work to nurture you.” Ken Collier
This month we consider what it means to be people of compassion. My understanding of compassion begins from UU minister musician Wendy Louella Perkins‘ chant – which says “Opening to all that lives with me/From the light that shines/To the dark corners frightening/May I weep when you weep/May I rejoice when you rejoice.”
I like that connection between opening to ourselves and being able to feel other people’s emotions. Compassion is, in part, a sympathy of feeling, of experiencing what another is experiencing. While much of the literature on compassion calls for us to act, to serve others selflessly – and a life of service does develop empathy – for those of us who judge ourselves far more than anyone else, compassion needs to begin at home. By accepting the light and dark within us, without judgement, we can find our way to compassion for others.
Compassion is not a passive emotion or passionate action. It’s a way of being in the world that keeps our hearts open to ourselves and to others. Compassion calls us to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. It is living out our first and second principles, to see the inherent worth and dignity of all, treating others with justice, equity and compassion. This isn’t always easy. It takes intention and effort.
Let us be compassionate to ourselves and one another this month. This is the final theme of this church year, we will begin again in October. To stay connected to the congregation, check out our website or find us on facebook.