Today I received an invitation to the Dalai Lama Summit on the Power of Compassion. It is on Oct 14-16th 2021 and is free to register for.
Now, I don’t think the Dalai Lama is actually speaking/in attendance of this summit (I will check on this and edit if nec./ or confirm), however it does appear to have some very good speakers in place.
So this got me thinking, this morning:
What IS compassion? And what does it mean to be compassionate?
Oxford Dictionary describes compassion as:
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
“the victims should be treated with compassion”
I often blur compassion with empathy, but as I consider it, I think they do differ: I think empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes: thinking or trying to experience things through another’s perspective, or being able to understand or share another’s perspective, outside of your own.
Compassion does not imply that empathy is a requirement. Sympathy and concern is given, regardless… I think. Can you be compassionate without empathy? I think so. You can show love and care and sympathy, even if you cannot or will not or do not want to try to experience how another might be feeling. You can still care and have sympathy and compassion for someone whom you might not understand or whose actions or feelings you cannot understand.
So is compassion non-judgemental? I don’t really know the answer to that. Can you care, have sympathy/compassion, but still judge another? I would guess you can:
“I feel sorry for him, even though he has done such terrible things… I still feel for him”.
Yes, this topic has definitely got me pondering now! The summit key topics include self-compassion – something I think is very rare in these image-obsessed social media days…Seeing my own child go through self-loathing at times does concern me, and self-compassion is most certainly something that should be shone a light on. Not just self-love, but self-care / self-compassion – not being too hard/harsh with ourselves – allowing mistakes and realizing we learn and we grow from them.
‘An act of compassion’. That just came into my mind, as if I heard it being read out on a news report. This statement usually describes a person acting purely out of love and concern for another’s wellbeing. It is often unexpected or can seem out of place – as in the person acted this way, regardless, or despite… something. It is almost always heartwarming and something we feel good about or are impressed with.
Other topics at the summit, are compassion in our daily lives – thinking of work colleagues, and customers, and commuting, etc.; then compassion in our community – local businesses, neighbours, cities, etc.; and then compassion for our planet – and we think of course to global warming, to the way we treat this planet, how we live on and with it…
Yes, lots to consider, I think. I will sign up, although I am working through a lot of the times, so will see what I pick up and get to – hopefully some will be recorded.
Just a disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the speakers, the summit, or anything about this btw – I DO love to hear from the Dalai Lama – not via personal correspondence of course (although that would be lovely!) 😀 But just thought I would share and do a little pondering on the topic of compassion myself today.
I will end by affirming to be compassionate to my immediate family today and to reach out compassionately to at least 2 or 3 friends and also to any creatures I come across – and plants (yes, I love my plants – ALL plants, actually!)…
How will I demonstrate this compassion, you ask? (Didn’t you?!) – Hmmm… Well, I think I will ask them about their day, their feelings, and I will refrain from judgement and wish them well… show them love, regardless… as I guess, that is what compassion means to me.
And I wish YOU a day filled with love, kindness and compassion – however you see it.