Courage and Compassion: A Dedication to Yourself

There was a statement once, a teaching, by a very special man – Life is suffering.

There is no one who has not suffered. Some are not aware of it; others are intimately acquainted with the pain in their heart. Others seek – they look for more love, more money, more happiness, satisfaction.

And yet that is only the beginning of his teaching. The remainder sends a message of hope – there is a way out.

Please do not think that because there is pain in your heart, fear in your mind, that there is something wrong with you. Everything I have learnt over the past year points to one simple lesson: the most personal, the darkest and the most painful – is also the most universal.

Please do not be ashamed of your pain, or run away from it. Without it, you cannot grow. Hold it; look deeply into it; love it like a mother comforting her crying baby. With understanding and compassion, you can begin to heal your wounds, and the wounds of the world.

I have been receiving many emails from people lately. They think they are sharing their stories of shame, of sadness, of pain. And yet there is something I see, something they cannot yet see in themselves – all I see is courage and compassion.

Those in pain cannot see themselves for what they are. They cannot see the beauty and the strength they possess. It has been hidden in the haze, covered by the layers of false messages, obscured by the pain.

Many speak of my courage in undertaking my journey. And yet what does my courage have to do with it? It is your own courage that you see, that you are responding to. There is a basic premise in the rich and complex psychology of Carl Jung, it is simple: you see in others what is already in yourself.

Recognise that in yourself. Have respect for your courage. Remember it, always.

Remember, also, to have compassion for yourself. Be soft, be gentle. You are the first person who deserves it, no matter what you believe, no matter what you think you have done. So what if you have been hurtful, spiteful? You were hurtful because that is all you had inside you. Begin to nourish yourself, fill yourself with love – by and by the hurtfulness and pettiness will disappear. What will pour out of you when you have replaced the hate with kindness?

Many teachers talk of the wings of wisdom and compassion. You cannot have one without the other. I used to think wisdom was enough – but I was a fool. I had slowly increasing insight into the human condition, and when I began to look into my own heart, I was afraid and repulsed. I saw the wounds and the weaknesses. It was garish, a mangled mess. So many times, I despaired. I got angry. I pretended the wounds didn’t exist. I did everything I could to run away.

Compassion was lacking, and that meant I could not stay to my journey. A surgeon needs a soft touch when he operates – anything less, and the wounds bleed even more with his scrutiny. Anything less, and we will be overwhelmed when everything we have been afraid of comes pouring out.

Remember always, as you go inwards, to have compassion for yourself.

I still don’t know what this post is about, or what its purpose is – I have never posted anything like this before. But it has been on my mind for so long, and I apologise if it is irrelevant to some readers. Perhaps the only reason I wrote this – is as a reminder, to both you and me – a dedication to all those who have been, who are in pain.

Further Reading: The Blossoming of Love