In Consideration of Compassion

Teacher: Scott Walter, Sensei

Let’s consider our combined views. Let’s also combine everyone else’s possible views into our consideration. This is the idea of compassion’s space.

Consider that humanity has a dimensionality in being that has inner and outer limits, determined by our awareness and behaviors. If we decide to look at Muslim extremists, we are looking at some of the more extreme regions of behavior that are accessible through the Muslim ideal. It’s really a place in humanity that exists as potential for some and as realized for others. What is its value? What does humanity’s reason for being look like when expressed at those points along the extreme edges of being human? If we were to travel around the circumference of that point, or extremity, we would encounter space that has not yet been defined and we would also encounter other examples of people living at that distance from the totality’s center. The values on that circumference would have a commonality while also demonstrating the differences that occur in how other cultures express that same distance from our unified core value.

Next, let’s consider that we as individuals are also existing somewhere within the limits of being human and although we can also exercise beyond the known limits, our personal examples of exceeding limitations may be in another direction than those of what we might call extremists and may be targeting a very different area of space and/or awareness.

Compassion begins to yield understanding of others when we realize we are all practicing being in the human experience and that we have freedoms, restrictions, abilities, limitations, and various forms of reasoning based on our cultures, our dwells, and our interpretations of humanity’s reason for being and our reason for being.

For some, living is about dying for a worthy reason. For others living is about understanding other dwells. Some live to overcome oppression. Some live to be oppressive. Some use religion as a tool against others. Some use the tool on themselves. Some find better ways to coexist. Some find ways to make any noticeable statement of life value. Some practice standing in disability, some practice ways to conquer the weakness in themselves or in others. Some people are discovering ego, some are lost in it. Some are hitting the extremes in science, while others focus on humility. Some are learning to trust, while others are learning what exploitation means. Some want to prove what right is while others are shining the light on wrong. Some are discovering a sense of self while others are exploring around the self’s perimeter. Some think this life is the only life they will ever have, while others see this life as a continuum of the only life they will ever have.

A compassionate view is one that understands, to varying degrees, that we are all being human and that we are engaging in the human experience with the potential knowns and unknowns combining in a complex interaction. Compassion understands that we are not all dwelling at the same points of value, but we are all dwelling in the human state of being. Therefore, we need to consider that things appear differently when we are dwelling at different points of reasoning. Compassion allows space for this truth and for the learning of our human lessons.

Certainly the potential of being human lies in us all, but it also lies to us, bringing a false overview of the totality from many, many different embodiments. Compassion also considers this, but according to the degree of compassion and how well we have been able to reconcile the differences certain embodiments have as ways of expressing their relationship to the totality and more inclusive forms of humanity’s reasonings.

For some, it is a sense of having done the other embodied form before. For others it is a sense of the potential to do or be where someone else is. For others, it is an appreciation of how dedicated someone else may be in standing, living and dying for a cause they believe in. For someone else, compassion might be generated by an inward sense of superiority, or being someone who would never fall into such an embodied form.

Yet, we are all in the human form, with every conceivable way of reasoning… and compassion considers this as well. Maybe we think we will arrive at Nirvana or in the highest states of Heaven by demonstrating how compassionate we are. But, maybe we won’t arrive there in our way of practicing. Compassion considers this too.

How do we practice being compassionate? We should wonder about how we are practicing. Likely not as well as we could be. So how can we improve and still be open to improving some more? This is where our practice in giving becomes important. To be truly forgiving, we must be ever more willing to give space for what is truer and more understanding. Compassion is about giving space for ourselves and others to grow as humans. Forgiveness is what we give to make that possible.

When we practice the Art of Giving, with the four principles described as respect, appreciation, gratitude and value, we are able to move through the moment, through space and through reasoning, to better, more capable points of understanding. Compassion is a way of being that promotes this process, giving the process to the moment, as a benefit to humanity, to ourselves, to someone else, or even to ways of being, so more understanding and the principles of respect, appreciation, gratitude and value can become better understood or have room to grow.

When you practice compassion, what are you looking to give? You will need the four basic principles of giving to open the moment to more understanding. Your forgiveness is based on what you give as values, and as reasons, and to what extent, or extreme, you are willing to be the giver of your relationship to understanding. And then, what does that grow?

It is in that relationship that we are positioning ourselves in terms of our inner dwell. And our genuine acts of forgiveness is what demonstrates the value of our dwelling points in understanding. Compassion makes room…gives space… for this practice.

Scott Walter, Sensei
17 October 2009

In Consideration of Compassion
© 2009 by Great River Institute

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Mark Walter

Construction worker and philosopher: “When I forget my ways, I am in The Way”