Compassion for others starts with the understanding that every human being on the planet looks different from us -- because physically we are different -- but inwardly we all live in the same pool. We all have pain and pleasure, we all share emotions that move in waves through that pool. People may live on the east bank of the pool so that the waves they know are different from the waves we know on the west bank, but if we look close enough, we can see that we share east bank waves in us as well.
Have you ever looked at someone and thought, "How could that person be like that?" and then by the grace of God, discovered that you had done the same thing before, only called it something different? This is a beautiful realization because it proves to you that it is intended for those of us who would have a higher life to use everyone's life for our own development.
Instead of walking through our days meeting people with the closed-off nature that we presently act from, we can begin to let down our guard. This doesn't mean to identify with negativity or cruelty in other people. We can certainly see their negative emotions. But because we have known hostility, fear, and hatred in ourselves, instead of punishing others for their states, we can begin to help them do what they must do, which is to fall back on themselves when we don't take part in their negativity the way we have always done.
Did you know that whenever you resist someone's negative state, you actually further enable that person's negativity? So, meet people differently! Learn to meet people with this quiet inner request: "What can I learn about myself from you?" Try it. You won't believe the difference it will make in what will come up in you and what you can learn about yourself because of what does come up.
As we participate in this completely different order of relationship -- being aware of the other person -- compassion is born. There is no compassion that exists in a sleeping human being, in unconscious relationship, except for the fallacious compassion we express in order to make ourselves feel like we're compassionate. Real compassion has to do with realizing that conscious relationship is the root of our existence, trying to get us to wake up a little bit and enter into those relationships which make it possible for our lives to become what they're intended to be.
This article is adapted from a seminar.