I recently put out a request for those interested in hearing thoughts I can share regarding compassion. I figure after dedicating the last six years to compassion, I can take time to share any wisdom that may pour through me on the subject through questions posed from others. I write this blog in response to an inquiry on how kindness and mercy relate to compassion….
How does kindness relate to compassion?
Kindness forms the backbone of compassion. Oftentimes people will differentiate between empathy and compassion. I believe kindness molds compassion into its outward form, the seed from which the tree of compassion grows. One can empathize with another and add to the pain and suffering out of enjoyment, whereas compassion takes action to alleviate suffering after establishing empathetic feelings.
Take a serial killer for example. He/she may empathize by feeling with another’s pain and want to cause more because that entertains him/her. Science refers to this as cognitive empathy—the ability to relate to another’s feelings. Science also recognizes affective empathy in which a person would see someone in pain and want to help alleviate it—compassion. After discovering these differences, I choose to include kindness with compassion because one can empathize without being kind. Kindness positively energizes and uplifts the experience of one’s self or another. It promotes a thriving mind, body, soul, and spirit. It helps us recognize the essence of Love that lies in the heart of all sentient beings.
How does mercy relate to compassion?
Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. We all possess the ability to punish or harm another, or even ourselves. Because of this, it’s possible to live in a constant state of mercy where you only choose to be kind rather than to cause harm. I’ll refer back to some wisdom pouring through me a few months ago—the relationship between inner peace, compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude.
When you remember the inner peace gifted to you by the Universe at birth, you will find that whatever suffering that happens can only be touched and healed by compassion. You recognize essence as Love and offer a return to that Love through a compassionate act. Forgiveness leads you back to that inner peace as well through the healing act of compassion. Taking it one step further—and probably a monumental challenge for most—you become grateful for the hardship because you see it in its totality on a larger scale. The person or event becomes a learning experience, like being able to look back at that elementary school teacher who gave you all that homework and saying, “Thank you.”
When you live in that state of inner peace, mercy becomes obsolete. The thought of punishing or harming another rarely crosses your mind because you live from the heart. Punishment and harm feel like an old echo of the past, a memory from a distance lifetime. The only thing you offer is Love because that’s all you know how to do. You know it’s the force behind all life. You know it’s who you are and all that is.
What are your thoughts on how kindness and mercy relate to compassion? Please feel free to add them in the comments below.