Question: What does it mean to have compassion for others, and how can I develop that in myself? Is forgiveness a necessary part of the equation?
Answer: Forgiveness is the personal understanding that except for circumstance there is no real difference between you and your offender. Compassion is the conscious refusal to add to another person's suffering even though it may seem to increase yours. Make this your new action: Dare to shoulder one hundred times the mental and emotional weight you think you can carry. Your new result will show you that contained right within the suffering is the glimpse that there is no sufferer. And, in spite of all the inner-screams to the contrary, dare to treat your trespasser as you would want to be treated. When you stop punishing others for their weakness, you will stop punishing yourself for yours.
Question: Why do I feel let down when I ask for help in doing a task and see that a family member is not concerned with the request? If they were doing the asking, the situation would be different -- that is, they would be upset if I didn't help them!
Answer: One of the major stumbling blocks as we go further with our spiritual studies is the gradual discovery of the undeveloped nature of the human beings around us. It never occurs to us how truly self-centered others are, and when we begin to see this, the observation brings a sense of despair or of being alone. This is inevitable and valuable to your work -- the reason being that as we see through the secret self-interest that possesses our friends and family, we can't help but come aware of it within ourselves. This does two things: First, we begin to become truly self-reliant, and second, at the same time as we learn to let go of our own selfishness, we understand its mechanical and unconscious nature in others. This teaches us compassion.
Excerpted from Seeker's Guide to Self-Freedom, page 154
Question: I worry about why such terrible things happen in the world, yet we are to believe that God is compassionate. Can you help me see what I am missing here?
Answer: God is tremendous. In His infiniteness, in the infiniteness of the Truth of that which is All and Absolute, there is this tremendous compassion. The expression of this compassion is that every single human being is actually able, consistently, in one form or the other, to take part in creating the life he or she wants.
The problem with this gift of being self-creative is a spiritual one. Most people don't know they have an invisible nature within them that wants something for itself that's against their own true best interests. As difficult as it may be to reconcile with your hopes for a brighter world through some kind of cosmic intervention, God does not make allowances for the sickness this unconscious selfish nature spreads throughout society. He is not concerned in the way we imagine that the man way over there, or the woman nearby, is living under such-and-such conditions or may have been treated in this or that way for so many years. There is discernible evidence for this last statement; one which, because of God's compassion, is also self-evident. So do try to see the truth and inherent wisdom in the following facts.
Every person ever thrust into some seemingly overpowering circumstance is (more than) equally empowered to understand that what he or she receives in those life moments amounts to their individual life experience; and that what they experience as their individual life has to do with that level of life's possibilities that they embrace and ultimately express. To say the same thing using different terms: each one of our lives creates and unerringly reflects the level of our understanding or the depth of our ignorance. Connect this fact with the God-given gift of being able to experience our own being, through our ongoing awareness of it, and we are indeed as empowered to change our life experience as we're willing to assume responsibility for it.
What this tells us is the Truth isn't going to walk through our front door and say, "Listen here! You've got to get this lesson." That's just not the way Heart of Reality works. Yet, it is, because all along Truth has been shouting: "Wake up! Your life itself is all the reason in the world why you need to learn the life lessons right in front of you."
God is absolutely equal opportunity. Absolutely fair. Absolutely compassionate. Into every single one of all the souls sown onto this planet is that which gives them the ability to produce from their requests what they receive. And there is no reception outside of the requests that you make. So, if your heart's heavy, or you're angry, or you're frightened, or you're impatient, or you're nervous, or you're scared, or you're caught up in money, or whatever it is that you do every single day, you have requested the pain that comes with those requests you don't know you are making.
If you can see the whole picture here, it tells a story we may not want to hear. Nevertheless, if we'll open our inner eyes and ears, it explains so much. God doesn't make allowances for the fact that you're conditioned and don't know it; that you receive from your conditioned nature what you do that punishes you; and that from this conditioned nature producing these pains, you then make new prayers that bring you new punishments. All this goes around and around only because you don't as yet understand yourself.
The person who doesn't know, and accepts what ignorance permits, receives what ignorance requests. Now, let's take the word ignorance and change it to better express its meaning in the context of this study: The person who does not know himself, and who accepts what his life is like without self-knowledge, receives from life what the absence of that self-knowledge requests. There are no excuses. Absolutely none. "Reasons" may abound, but there are no excuses for living in the dark. But we don't, or maybe more accurately, we will not, see ourselves.
So take the time needed to look into your own life. See where it is that you are like what you are because of what you are allowing within you. Start this very moment to become conscious of all inner states. Your consciousness of them is the request for that Life which is not dominated by them, which is the same as requesting that God let you live within Him. This request he always answers.
Excerpted from The Lost Secrets of Prayer, pages 67-70, 80