Different minds might have different understandings or definitions about what is compassion.
The weaker is our ego, the easier for us to be compassionate. The stronger is our ego, the more difficult for us to be compassionate. That’s why our ego doesn’t like to hear or know anything about “compassion”, as compassion is the disappearance of the ego (selfishness).
By hearing or reading about “compassion”, or talk about compassion doesn’t really make us become compassionate. Merely by performing some good actions does not necessary mean that we are compassionate, if we have attachment, selfish intention, desire and expectation that motivate us to perform good actions. There is identification as the doer of actions. There is attachment towards the fruit of the actions. Good actions that are being performed out of compassion, is free from attachment, selfish intention, desire and expectation. There is no identification as the doer of actions. There is no attachment towards the fruit of the actions.
Compassion is our true nature. It is who we really are, whether we realize it or not.
In the end, we need to realize compassion through our own selves, then only we will know what is compassion and be free. Be free from restlessness, unhappiness, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, disappointment, dissatisfaction, fear and worry, that derive from not knowing what is compassion (or not knowing who we really are), and which is the reason why we do not know how to be compassionate towards ourselves. If we couldn’t be compassionate towards ourselves, how could we be compassionate towards other beings? If we cannot accept ourselves as we are, and constantly criticize ourselves for being imperfect, then how can we accept other beings as they are, and stop criticize other beings for being imperfect?
In the path of unconditional peace and love, compassion is not just about performing some good actions. It is also about refrain from performing any evil actions. It’s not just about being kind to other living beings, but it is also being kind to ourselves. It’s because just by performing good actions and being kind to other living beings, it doesn’t guarantee us peace and freedom. We might still be influenced by ignorance and not knowing the truth of things, and be disturbed by impurities like anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry that derive from attachment towards the qualities of good and bad, and be over-powered by craving and aversion.
Due to ignorance, we will be disturbed by the qualities of names and forms that we experience in life.
Due to the influence of selfish desires (craving and aversion), we might engage in performing some evil actions that will hurt others and ourselves. And this shows that we do not know how to love ourselves.
Compassion, which relieves us from all kinds of impurities, painful sorrow and miseries, is also about purifying the mind, realizing the truth of things and being able to accept the reality of everything as it is, and able to accept everyone and everything as it is without attachment, judgment, comparison, prejudice, discrimination, expectation, craving or aversion.
It is being free from egoism and impurities that arise from egoism.
It is being free from selfish desires, craving and aversion.
It is being free from ignorance.
It is being free from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms.
It is realizing namelessness and formlessness, or non-duality. It is going beyond the qualities of names and forms, good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.
It is being free from anger and hatred, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry that derive from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms (craving and aversion towards objects and qualities that we like and dislike, agree and disagree with), and having the idea of possessiveness (such like the idea of my life, my body, my thinking, my feelings, my family, my friends, my country, my culture, my religion, my job, my wealth, my health, my things, my pride, my name, and etc).
It is unconditional loving kindness towards ourselves and other beings that endowed with correct knowledge, or right understanding, or wisdom.
It is about self-acceptance, know how to love ourselves unconditionally, be kind to ourselves and have peace in us. As when we know how to accept and love ourselves as we are, be kind to ourselves, and have peace in us, we won’t be generating any negativities in ourselves, nor into the world. We won’t be in painful sorrow or suffering that arise from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms that derives from being ignorant about the truth of things.
There is no ill will, nor argument, nor criticism, nor condemn about anything or anyone that is different from us and what we disagree with. There is no aversion towards any thinking, believes, behaviors, actions and speech that are contradicting with what our mind believes what things are.
It is about tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation and acceptance. Even if everyone is being influenced by ignorance and egoism, and behaves in the complete opposite way of loving kindness, peace and compassion, we clearly understand why all these beings act and react in such ways, and accept that everyone has the freedom to be what they are, and behave the way that they want to behave. We cannot enforce or control other beings about how they should behave, or how to think and what to believe.
We allow everything (both “good” and “bad” elements) to be exist in the same space of the universe. There is no possessiveness. We don’t own this space of the universe. There is no such expectation towards the world hoping that “There is only good things, there is no bad things. Everyone is good and is doing good actions only, and there are no evil beings doing any evil actions”, or “The world will not be a suffering place. The world will only be a happy place”. As this is not the teaching of Yoga and Buddhism. The teachings of Yoga and Buddhism is about accepting the truth as it is. We can be aware of all the good and bad elements, but no one (not even the enlightened beings) can change or control anyone or the world to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be.
Although we cannot change the world to be the way that we like it to be, but we can contribute peace and love into the world by changing ourselves, and realize peace and love in us, being undisturbed nor affected by the qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. If ourselves are not peaceful, and have no love and kindness in us, then how can we expect the world to be peaceful and expect other beings to be kind and loving?
Everyone needs to realize ignorance in ourselves, and through our own free will, we want to change ourselves and we want to remove ignorance in us. We can only do our best in performing all our duties and responsibilities, perform our own spiritual practice and evolve towards highest realization of unconditional peace and love. By changing ourselves, and realize unconditional peace and love in us, then naturally we are helping the world to change and improve. By being peaceful, and vibrate peace and love into the world, we are benefiting the world.
Compassion is also knowing the truth of impermanence and accepting the impermanent changes as they are, from moment to moment. Things exist, and will stop existing. Everything keeps arising and passing away. But at the same time, we perform necessary actions out of compassion, without expectation, without attachment towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessary the way that we expect or like it to be…
It is also knowing the limitations of names and forms, including this perishable and limited physical body and the egoistic intellectual thinking mind, that are conditioned and limited by time, space and causation. Knowing that the body and mind belongs to the energy and elements. It doesn’t belong to us, and it is not who we really are. And at the same time, knowing the unlimited and unconditioned true nature of everything, which is beyond the body, the senses, the mind, the thinking, the feelings and emotions, which is beyond dualities and qualities of good and evil, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.
In the process of learning and performing the yoga asana poses, we learn about the limitations of the physical body and the influence of the ego, and allow us to be able to accept the present condition and abilities, and the limitations of the physical body as it is. At the same time, we perform all the yoga practice without expectation towards the result of the practice, but allowing the result to happen naturally as it is. We allow improvement to happen naturally without expecting any benefits from performing the yoga practice.
We allow physical health condition, stamina, strength and flexibility to improve naturally as we practice yoga asana and breathing exercises regularly, without attachment, without craving towards some pleasant experiences, without aversion towards some unpleasant experiences. As all these physical benefits that come from performing the yoga asana practice and breathing exercises are just a side effect of the yoga practice. It is not the objective of our yoga practice. All these yoga practice allow us to develop the inner strength and flexibility, or the divine qualities that will bring us to the realization of unconditional peace and compassion. It helps to purify the energy fields in the physical body and thus purifying the mind, which helps to remove ignorance or impurities.
Perform all our duties and responsibilities in the world but do not neglect our greatest duty towards our own selves and the universe, which is Self-inquiry, realizing who we really are, and be free from being conditioned by the impure mind and the limited physical body…
That will definitely helps the world to become a better place.
By expecting other people to change into somebody whom we like them to be, or trying to control other people to be the way that we want them to be, will only generate tension, frustration and disappointment in ourselves. Further more, this will also trigger negativities (anger, hatred, aversion) in other people whom we want to control or change them, just because we don’t like and don’t agree with them and their thinking, believes and behaviors.
Compassion is not different from, or not separated from fearlessness. Fear comes from the wrong identification with the body and mind as us, and having attachment towards all the things that are not us or don’t belong to us. This wrong identification and attachment gives rise to the idea of possessiveness, and we will try to protect what we think is “I” and all that belongs to “I”. Out of fear of losing the people and things that we love and which we think they belong to us, we will have fear towards some other living beings (people, animals, insects etc), thinking that they might hurt “I” or “my loved ones”, or might cause harmful effect and damage to “my life”, or “my health”, or “my belongings”, and so, I will attack these living beings, before they will hurt “I” and damage something that belongs to “I”. This is ignorance and selfishness.
We cannot be truly compassionate when we have fear and have self-protection toward ourselves and what we think that are belong to us, due to egoism or selfishness, or influenced by craving and aversion, anger and hatred, prejudice, dualism, discrimination, selfish desires, selfish expectation and possessiveness, even though we try to perform many good actions and try not to perform any evil actions, or try to be kind to other beings, as we will be miserable, constantly being affected and determined by the result of our actions and inactions, as well as being disturbed by other people (bad) actions and (good) inactions. We will be very unhappy, angry, frustrated and disappointed when our expectations and desires are not being gratified, or when the result of our actions didn’t turn out the way that we expect or like it to be.
Constantly contemplate on this teaching about compassion or selflessness, and be free. So that we can help the world to improve to be a better place.