Compassion, What Is It?















“I have compassion for Mother Earth, and all of humanity!” A powerful, positive and remarkably bold statement which I often feel inside of me (but not always) and see and hear from well meaning, caring people every single day. Can anyone live up to that statement? Before we give our answers I think it’s important to ask ourselves another question;

Compassion, what is it?

To my way of thinking it’s a word often misused to describe a Loving feeling or emotion, when in fact it is separate from Love but includes it at the same time. What I’m trying to say is that you may not necessarily Love someone or something yet still be able to feel compassion for that person or thing. Breaking a word down to it’s origin is always a good way of getting to the truth and compassion is a great example. It’s a combination of Latin and Old French; ‘Com’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘Pati’ meaning ‘to suffer,’ so put together it is, the feeling of distress or pity for the suffering and pain of others. Hence the term, ‘Passion Play’ relating to the suffering of Jesus.

OK, end of language lesson, but hopefully it helped to explain what is to follow and that if you add Love into the equation you will have what must surely be the most powerful emotion we humans could ever experience. Of course like so many other emotions compassion cannot be shared with others if we don’t have and understand it for ourselves, we cannot share what we do not have! This understanding of compassion for ourselves can be the hardest and distressing emotion to comes to terms with as it involves getting to know the inner pain we hold and often deny within ourselves. Finding, accepting and then releasing that suffering can be painful in itself as I’m sure you’re all well aware. Self-compassion is all about letting go of that pain and residing in a place of harmony with the cards life has dealt you; then and only then can you feel ‘true’ compassion for others. You will have created an inner space for it to live and grow. All of which should explain why I said earlier that the word ‘compassion’ is so often misused … it’s far too powerful an emotion to be simply tossed around without thought!

So my answer to the question; can anyone live up to the statement, “I have compassion for Mother Earth and all of humanity,” is a definite No you can’t! However that is not a negative response, we can feel compassion for as much as we are capable of and no more. We can live our lives as compassionately as we can, especially for our partners, family and friends, but in those moments when we feel less than compassionate about anyone or any thing there is no need to beat ourselves up about it (goodness knows I’ve done that far too often in the past!). It’s a sign that we need to use our self-compassion and find, accept and release whatever’s eating at us whilst creating space for our compassion to grow.

None of us are here to ‘save the planet nor humanity’ by ourselves, we are here as a community of guardians or gardeners as I like to call us, to share the load, that is the only way that the statement, “I have compassion for Mother Earth and all of humanity,” can become true. We can sow the seeds and share the fruit of compassion wherever we go for others to feed upon so long as we don’t scatter the whole packet and remember to hold some back for ourselves, for those moments of inner doubt.

Steve Tallamy Magical articles about Mother Nature and her Kingdoms