Compassion is a word that many healers whom I greatly respect use to describe the state of consciousness they experience in their sessions.
I found this confusing for years. I kept trying to redefine compassion starting with the basics:
A Traditional Definition of Compassion From the Internet:
“a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
This did not make any sense at all. I have never felt sorrow for my clients, much less think of them as stricken by misfortune. My strong desire to assist their healing process was also shifting and I could not comprehend, much less verbalize, what was happening.
Then I went through a divorce. During this process, I did many breath sessions. I have no idea how I would have made it through that time in my life without Breathwork, yet not every breathe left me feeling better about my life or my situation. Sometimes I would breathe right into the most painful feelings of grief, loss, failure, and shame. There were several sessions in which I felt emotionally overwhelmed – or trashed – after my breathe.
My breathwork practitioner held the most amazing and beautiful space for me during that time. I never once felt that my lack of “getting better” made her feel inadequate as a breathwork practitioner. Her ego was not invested in my healing. I never felt she thought less of me because I was such a mess. I could just focus and surrender to my process, as ugly as it appeared to me at the time.
All I felt from her was support, nonjudgement, and complete compassion. THAT FEELING OF TOTAL COMPASSION WAS SO HEALING. I will never forget what that was like; just being in that compassionate, nonjudgemental space was incredibly validating and grounding. I am tearing up as I write this. She showed me what true compassion really is.
My definition of compassion is unconditional love without an agenda, the ability to hold the abused and the abuser, the light and the dark, the “good” feelings and the “bad.” Compassion is the ability to hold everything in the moment, in the divine presence of All That Is. It is an energetic healing state.
Over the years, the less desire I have to “alleviate suffering” and be present with what is in the moment, the more effective my healing sessions have become for my clients.
Jeri Lawson has a full-time healing practice in the Temescal Area of Oakland, California. She is available for Healing Touch, Reiki, Distance Healings and Clarity Breathwork Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. 510-601-9632
5 Replies to “Healing, Breathwork and True Compassion”
Amazing timing. Our lesson today is Daya Compassion. Here is another perspective, Jeri.
LESSON 22 FROM LIVING WITH SIVA
The seventh yama is daya, compassion. Sometimes it is kind to be cruel, and at other times it is cruel to be kind. This statement has come forward from religion to religion, generation to generation. Compassion tempers all decisions, gives clemency, absolution, forgiveness as a boon even for the most heinous misdeeds. This is a quality built on steadfastness. Daya comes from deep sadhana, prolonged santosha, contentment, scriptural study and listening to the wise. It is the outgrowth of the unfolded soul, the maturing of higher consciousness. A compassionate person transcends even forgiveness by caring for the suffering of the person he has forgiven. The compassionate person is like a God. He is the boon-giver. Boons, which are gifts from the Gods, come unexpectedly, unasked-for. And so it is with the grace of a compassionate person.
A devotee asked, “What should we think about those who are cruel toward creatures, who casually kill flies and step on cockroaches?” Compassion is defined as conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings. A compassionate person would tell a plant verbally if he was going to pick from it, intuiting that the plant has feelings of its own. A compassionate person would seek to keep pests away rather than killing them. A callous person would tear the plant up by its roots. A cruel person would, as a child, pull one wing off a fly and, unless corrected, mature this cruelty on through life until he maimed a fellow human. Compassion is just the opposite to all this.
When we find callous, cruel and insensitive people in our midst, we should not take them into our inner circles, but make them feel they must improve before admittance onto the spiritual path. Compassion is the outgrowth of being forgiving. It is the outgrowth of truthfulness, and of noninjury. It is a product of asteya, of brahmacharya and of kshama. It is, in fact, higher consciousness, based in the vishuddha chakra of divine love.
One can’t command compassion. Before compassion comes love. Compassion is the outgrowth of love. Love is the outgrowth of understanding. Understanding is the outgrowth of reason. One must have sufficient memory to remember the various points of reason and enough willpower to follow them through to be able to psychically look into the core of existence to gain the reverence for all life, all living organisms, animate or inanimate. Compassion is a very advanced spiritual quality. When you see it exhibited in someone, you know he is very advanced spiritually–probably an old soul. It really can’t be taught. Daya goes with ananda. Compassion and bliss are a one big package.
What is the difference between ahimsa and daya, compassion, one might ask? There is a distinct difference. Not harming others by thought, word or deed is a cardinal law of Hinduism and cannot be avoided, discarded, ignored or replaced by the more subtle concept of compassion. Ahimsa, among the yamas and niyamas, could be considered the only explicit commandment Hinduism gives. Compassion comes from the heart, comes spontaneously. It is a total flow of spiritual, material, intellectual giving, coming unbidden to the receiver.
Compassion by no means is foolishness or pretense. It is an overflowing of soulfulness. It is an outpouring of spiritual energy that comes through the person despite his thoughts or his personal feelings or his reason or good judgment. The person experiencing compassion is often turned around emotionally and mentally as he is giving this clemency, this boon of absolution, despite his own instinctive or intellectual inclinations. This is a spiritual outpouring through a person. Rishi Tirumular used the word arul for this yama. Arul means grace in the ancient Tamil language.
A devotee once e-mailed me, saying, “Recently I was going through some suffering and had bad thoughts and bad feelings for those who caused that suffering. Now that I’m feeling better, can I erase those bad thoughts and feelings?” Thoughts and bad feelings you have sent into the future are bound to come back to you. But, yes, you can mitigate and change that karma by being extra-special nice to those who abused you, hurt you or caused you to have bad thoughts and feelings against them. Being extra-special nice means accepting them for who they are. Don’t have critical thoughts or try to change them. Have compassion. They are who they are, and only they can change themselves. Be extra-special nice. Go out of your way to say good words, give a gift and have good feelings toward them.
Savitri, What a teaching! I can’t reread this enough times. I do think that bad thoughts happen all the time. It’s not attaching to bad thoughts that keeps Karma clear. Thank you so much, Jeri
This is so beautiful, Jeri. Thank you ❤️🦋🌟
Well written. I totally get it. Yes. I do not like the original definition of compassion and as a healer I believe compassion is the action of giving unconditional love with a nonjudgmental mindset and of holding sacred space for another to make their own transitions from within. Keep up the beautiful blog. I enjoy reading your entries.