Compassion

What about me? It isn’t fair
I’ve had enough, now I want my share
Can’t you see, I wanna live
But you just take more than you give

                                                -Moving Pictures

If I remember correctly, they lyrics are from Arthur, a 1981 movie. I loved this song when I was a kid. Seriously, life was not fair. You try being a girl with three brothers, one who reacted loudly to the world. My birthright involved teasing from friend and foe alike. I was gullible, and skinny, and the boy I loved in the sixth grade actually called me Medusa. Yes, that Medusa, the one with snakes in place of hair.

I have evolved since then. I am still convinced life is not fair, but I have the long end of the stick now. I am lucky, blessed, happy, healthy, and strong. I actually have real muscles on both arms. (My high school cross-country coach made me flex for people. She laughed every time I did this because I did not have arm muscles in one of my upper arms. I am so glad I could make her happy. She also taught me that Coke was evil. I still disregard that info, and think of her as I indulge.)

Enough asides all ready. Lately I have been pondering compassion: as in, I have enough, how can I give more than I take? I’m not talking about donating to charity or serving lunch at a soup kitchen. I’m thinking about actually liking the people I hate, and having sympathy for people who are suffering. Call it lovingkindness if you want to. I meant to run those words together. This is a very Buddhist thing to do, I think.

I seem to have an excess of joy lately. Instead of being smug about it, I would like to put it to good use. I am pretty sure that I am not a very compassionate person. This is maybe bad to admit. Most of me would love to beat someone up, though. OK, now I know I am not winning any friends here. Yet, I have secretly always wanted to attack someone with my bare fists and win, just let all that rage have its five minutes of glory. Picture tiny me taking on someone five times my size and winning the fight. 

This is clearly not going to happen. Those arm muscles of mine are still small, comparatively speaking. Mostly, though, it is because I believe in loving kindness, whether written as two words or one, long flowing statement. I want to love my enemies as myself. I want to live by the golden rule. Gosh darn it all, this is harder than it looks. It is only part one of my compassion ideal. The second is to help people who are struggling right now, whether that hardness involves illness, death of a loved one, marital strife, or unruly children.

How can I love icky people? How can I show kindness to friends who clearly need it most? Well, I am not sure. It takes empathy deeper than simply sharing my stash of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Maybe I should start by offering my favorite candy bar to these folks?

No, no, no. I am not showing you my secret hiding place. I think I am going to use this word, compassion, as the beginning place. When I see someone who should be worrying about my upper body strength, I am going to say, “Compassion.” Yes, this sounds silly. But this is me calling forth that quality. It is something. It could work. I’ll say this word again when I think of someone who is suffering right now, or when I meet this person in real life. I know I am only calling forth a simple phrase, but there is a good energy behind this action. I know it. I am sure of it, as sure of this concept as the fact that I just ate a delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup all by myself in the comfort of my favorite reading chair.

Namaste to you, my dear reader. Please stop asking about those hidden candy bars. I am saving you from yourself, for sure, and in a very healthy way.

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