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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Work of a Compassionate Heart

Close your eyes and breathe comfortably. In this exercise, you are going to experience the meaning of compassion. Where does it come from? What happens to you when you act compassionately? And what happens when you don’t?
Mentally transport yourself to a land that is in a total state of anarchy. There is no law and order. People commit the most heinous crimes against one another. There is death caused by malnutrition and hunger. It seems that God has ceased to exist in that part of the world.
Now imagine that you are working for an international relief agency and it’s your duty to take care of the sick and dying children and the old who can’t even walk. Why did you take this job? You had other options to make a living. You were moved by a commitment to serve people who are suffering. This urge or desire came from deep within you. You knew that you alone could not put an end to these peoples’ suffering. You knew that you were up against forces bigger than yourself. But you decided to take the job and the accompanying risk.
And what do you do? You are nursing a sick child. You are feeding an old man, who is dying, having his last meal. You are nursing a wounded soldier, a perpetrator of violence against his own people. You are caring for a mother who lost every member of her family.
You see yourself in all these roles. Your compassion knows no boundaries. You are compassionate at the risk of your own wellbeing. To the suffering men and women, you are like an angel of hope.
When you act compassionately, you go outside of your own social boundaries to do things that couldn’t be done otherwise. It is compassion, a bundle of divine energy located at the bottom of your heart, that makes you perform acts that are unimaginable in the normal course.
Compassion is about caring. Compassion is about forgiving people for the wrongs they have done. Compassion is about giving people another chance in their life.
You say a silent prayer of thankfulness. To be compassionate is a gift of the divine; it is doing the work of a higher force It is not just your own doing. It is a prayer, a way of worshipping the creator and the creation. It is both a process and an end. It is both a work and the reward of work. It is the way to honor your own being.
Open your eyes when you are ready.

Copyright © Surinder Deol 2006


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