This type of query is not about counseling or therapy though. This is about something much larger, much bigger than a profession.
Who among us hasn’t tried to rescue someone? Tried to save someone? Become involved in the suffering of others only to make things worse? Who among us hasn’t fruitlessly thrown money at problems? Given unheeded and/or unhelpful advice? Become weighed down by the very people we thought we were helping?
Look at the projective nature. Better to ask what is it in yourself that wishes to be rescued? What is it in yourself that wants to be saved? That believes if only the right person would enter your life with just the right words, or if only you had ‘x’ amount of money that everything would be okay.
How to remain present with people when they’re suffering? How to bear compassionate witness to others in the midst of pain without being drawn in to their drama is a teaching for all of us. To be an empathetic witness who doesn’t stoically compartmentalize for fear of the pain they might feel. To not suffer from tyrannical compassion and walk the delicate line and to feel the pain of others without trying to commandeer or control the other persons emotional outcome is a skill. To not suffer from idiot compassion and become complicit in the loss of boundaries and drown in unhealthy copendency is a skill.
A skill for whom? For everyone alive, in family, in relationship, in friendship, as lovers, as neighbors, as enemies, in society, in the environment and simply – in the world.
While there are endless facets to examine in helping to avoid these common mistakes of compassionate caring – there is a foundational basis that needs to be there to keep your sanity, composure and your good heart intact.
When you can look into the suffering face of another and see them as inseparable from yourself, as a reflection of your own being – only then is your compassion aligned with wisdom.
To be compassionate with suffering first requires an acceptance of suffering. Suffering is an intrinsic part of life and cannot be avoided. You can’t help anyone to change who doesn’t have an intention to change or doesn’t see an issue with their actions. I can’t tell you just how important it is to be able to separate out the difference between your version of another persons suffering and their actual suffering. Even more importantly to know the difference between their suffering and your discomfort with their suffering. To react to your own discomfort has nothing to do with compassion, but is more aligned with fear.
May you practice a gentle loving and living compassion for others that is not contingent upon their actions, behavior or your expectations of outcome. May you see yourself in every suffering being, and may you recognize them as a reflection of your own unfinished business. May every suffering being you meet be met with a heart and mind imbued with a deep genuine concern for their happiness, safety, peace and well-being. In this way may we all experience the fruits of our loving and compassionate heart in this very life.
#mindfulness #acceptance #meditation #freedom #motivation #intention #therapy #counseling #coaching #buddhism #simplicity #compassion