How Self-Command Gives Rise to Compassion
How Self-Command Gives Rise to Compassion
  • Posted: January 16, 2017
  • 806 words
Key Lesson

It is impossible to hold an enemy in our heart and know, at the same time, the Love that lends the heart its wholeness -- its capacity to consider the suffering of others, without which there is no compassion.

Summary

Even though we all know the harm it does to lash out at others, to launch an angry attack or act with cruel intent, we still tend to do these things anyway. The following insights help make clear why this happens to us and how we are made, in effect, to act against ourselves and others without really knowing why.

Whenever we are threatened in some way, our tendency is to go into an "auto-respond" mode of behavior; certain habitual reactions rise up and effectively "take over" our thoughts and feelings. So, in a manner of speaking, it isn't really our true Self that meets these unwanted events. If we take a step back and quietly observe ourselves through impartial eyes, here's what we'll see is actually happening within us: We are being told how we feel, what to do, even who we should be by what we're being given to remember in these moments.

Whenever we act cruelly toward another, it's because something cruel "takes over and handles" the moment for us by doing what it remembers to do. In a manner of speaking, a state of cruelty imposes its rules on us, and makes of us what it will in the next moment. Much to our regret, we don't remember that any better solution exists until we have to deal with the grief that follows from having forfeited our freedom.

What's the solution to this kind of forgetfulness? First, without judging ourselves, we must acknowledge the truth of our present (psychological) situation; facts never lie. We are reacting to life's challenges from unconscious parts of ourselves that literally hand us a script and then direct us to play out a painful role. We are not meant to live like this -- as real-time prisoners of our own pasts, captives of conditioning that serves nothing but its own continuity. Within us, awaiting our awakening to it, lives a level of Self that cannot forget what is right, bright, and true, any more than the sun can forget to shine each day.

Living within us dwells an order of being that knows, without thinking about it, what is authentically good for us and others. The problem isn't that this higher level of being -- with its natural, calm command -- is actually missing just when we need it most. The real problem is that we forget it! We forget that it's our right to remember what we want to remember, instead of what we are being given to remember!

A higher spiritual choice exists in each and every moment -- if we choose to be present to it. We do not need to think in order to know the right thing to do in the moment for ourselves, or for others! The awareness of our living relationship with the present moment -- our willingness to consciously practice its presence -- empowers us to know what's best for us without having to think about it.

This level of awareness sees what is real and what is not. Its power to command challenging moments derives from its complete innocence. Higher consciousness doesn't "try" to control events or other people, because its timeless nature is already a partner in guiding creation itself, so what has it to fear? And the more we place ourselves in the presence of this indwelling light, the more we will see small miracles take place before our very eyes. Quiet command over all that unfolds becomes as effortless for us as it is for the spreading light of dawn to chase away morning shadows.

When we are in command of our life, conflicts of one nature or another may appear, but we can no longer be tricked into compromising ourselves by mistaking, for instance, resentment or anger for real strength, or brash arrogance for quiet confidence. When we're in command of ourselves, we don't say cruel things to others.

Remember... in spite of the highly polished performances to make you believe otherwise -- everyone you meet suffers in much the same way as you do. No one wants others to know the weight of their unspoken pain. And yet, all are burdened with broken dreams, shattered hearts, and whatever other sorrow walks with them through their day.

Have the courage to act on this knowledge: Refuse to ever again add to the pain of another, even a small measure of your own. Whatever suffering you agree to shoulder in this way not only helps to lighten the load of those in need, but also serves to awaken within you the strength you need to be a real "friend in deed." Your reward: the birth of a whole new kind of compassion that not only flowers when faced with the weakness of others, but whose fragrance helps heal all those who are touched by it.

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