Compassion in action. What does it mean? I’m still considering this.
My good friend and Kundalini yoga teacher Carol, who studied body-work and energy healing for 14 years, says this: When you take on other people’s pain, you take on their energy. Their energy, no matter how wonderful a person they are, doesn’t feel wonderful when you’re carrying it. It feels wonderful for them to carry.
Seane Corne, who I just did a workshop with, says this: Every experience is part of our path towards enlightenment. All of the ‘trauma’–the tough stuff we go through and our ego loathes, whether it’s major–divorce, abuse, physical accidents–or minor–small stresses, heart ache, etc–is recognized by our soul as an opportunity for growth. As an opportunity to deal with the crap that gets in the way of recognizing and living as our true self: authentic, loving.
Pema Chodron, says this: The crummy stuff, the dark stuff we don’t like and don’t want to experience, is fuel for our ability to tap into our true nature below all of that: The loving-kind, compassionate, gentle bodhicitta in our heart centre.
Seane also says: The ego doesn’t want it. The soul loves it. We attract experiences and people who will encourage us to process other experiences and beliefs that prevent us from living from and realizing our true nature: Truth and Love. Examples: We’re insecure (okay, full disclosure: I am), so we attract someone who brings that out in us so we can deal with it. Or, we haven’t found a way to process the fact our dad left our mom, and we blame her for it, so we attract someone who will leave us so we can develop understanding and compassion.
So here’s what I’m feeling: It’s not only a disservice to ourselves to take on other’s pain, it’s actually a disservice to them. Because their pain is their energy, it’s their opportunity for growth, it’s their path to enlightenment and loving-kindness for themselves and the world.
Phew. As someone who is literally made immobile by my attempts to carry other’s pain, this is a huge relief. We can be there, we can love and give and nourish, but we don’t need to carry them. We can’t, really, anyway.