A Quick Guide to Compassion

Photograph by Joey Spadoni

“When you’re upset with someone, it may seem at first that this other person has no reason to suffer. His life may seem happy and carefree, and he may have all the things in his life that you think you want. But when you are able to look deeply enough, you will see the suffering in him. Sitting and walking mindfully, you direct your attention to the causes underlying the other person’s behavior. You see clearly that he has a lot of pain inside and doesn’t know how to handle it. That is why he suffers so much and makes the people around him suffer. What he needs is help, not punishment. If you stay with this practice, the suffering of anger or jealousy in you will dissipate and the flower of compassion will be born.” — Thick Nhat Hanh

So often, we feel like we are the victims of another person’s intentional conduct, but in actuality, those who hurt us have already been hurt themselves.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to see the suffering of others clearly and to minister to it. Let us reach out and lovingly touch the wounds in this world, and in so doing, engender a greater sense of compassion for those in our lives.

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