What is compassion?
Compassion is nothing but being present to the suffering of others and responding with a desire to relieve them of this pain and suffering with kindness, care, love and support. The key to compassion is the art of mindfulness and the lesson of letting go. We need to learn to let go of our egos. We need to move beyond judgement and indifference. We need to learn to share space with complete strangers because this place is equally theirs. We need to feel the pain from the heart. Suffering does not necessarily have to be physical. It can be someone going through a stressful time in their personal or professional lives. Often we neglect the urge to provide a listening ear or offer a few comforting words because we believe that we are intruding into their lives. But many a times, it is those few words, those few minutes that can help save someone from making a wrong decision (perhaps the last decision) in their lives. Be helpful anyway. Be compassionate any way. Be kind any way. Together we can make this a better place. A peaceful place. A happy place.
I will now share my experience with two people who I believe defined compassion for me.
She stays in a building next to mine. The first person to have spoken to me when I moved in here. She came up to me and offered to help if I ever needed. The next time I saw her, she was surrounded by half a dozen street dogs barking non-stop. I was scared for her and wanted to protect her. I picked up some stones and was about to throw them at the dogs when I saw her bending down and pouring milk into an earthen bowl and a few bread slices into another. The dogs had stopped barking and were wagging their tails. And she wore the most beautiful smile I have ever seen on anyone.
A few days later, one of the street dogs that resided in our locality got infected. It started bleeding from different places and shedding its skin showing the pink tissue underneath. Everyone (including myself) felt pity. But none of us did anything to help it from suffering. Some for fear of getting infected and some others out of disgust. We had accepted that this was the end of it. He wouldn’t survive. We nodded to ourselves.
And then I saw her sitting next to the dog and applying some medicines. She fed him like a new-born baby. As it managed to take a few bites, she kept massaging his back and forehead. He looked at her with eyes shining as if to thank her for her kindness. A few weeks and the dog was fully cured and up and running. That day, I saw her. I found the reflection of the mother.
The Impact of a Teacher
At a school function, I met this man. He is a doctor by profession. But he has quit practice and is planting trees every single day, every single hour. Why? Because some forty odd years ago (when he was nine), his teacher had told him that the world will end in 2070 because of lack of oxygen and global warming. When he asked her how can this be prevented, the good soul that the teacher was she told him that planting more and more trees alone can help save the earth. And ever since he has planted more than one million trees.
Why did he have to take it up so seriously? He could have chosen to listen and let go like most of us. He was well aware that he might not survive to see the end of the world in 2070. But he was aware that every drop matters. Every tree meant saving the world for a few more days. I haven’t seen another human as compassionate towards trees like him. If he ever sees a tree being uprooted or being cut down for infrastructural reasons, he silently weeps within. His revenge: planting more and more trees.
What is it? Why are they doing all this? Why do they have to do all of this? The answer is nothing but kindness and compassion. While fools like us sit and preach, people like them lead by example. They are aware that their deeds might not do anything for themselves. But they do it anyway because it helps someone else. Contentment and fulfillment are their prizes.
We all have seeds of compassion inside us. It is a natural instinct present within all of us. It is restrained when we lack mindfulness and turn a blind eye to life. It’s just a matter of realizing it and letting it flow freely.
Compassion does not restrict to relieving others of pain. It also means being kind towards ourselves. A smile or a kind word can make a big difference in someone’s life. The mere feeling that we are not alone in this struggle makes people get back up, be strong and have a reason to flourish. A heartfelt act of kindness goes a long way in the other person’s life.
So, did you smile today?
Rekha Dhyani is the mom of two T-Rex kiddoos, seasoned publishing expert, hardcore marketer, freelance content writer, amateur photographer, travel enthusiast and a passionate writer/blogger. She blogs at Dew Drops.