“swapa karune irali,” this was what my grandmother always told me, that is be compassionate, for the other person that you meet is fighting a harder battle than you. The word she used Karuna/Karune, always left me wondering.
Karuna or compassion is one of the Buddhist Tennets. This word however has foxed me, for Karuna or Karune the dynamic form of Karuna is also used to convey pity. This I perceive has a mild fragrance of arrogance, that, I am at place above you, so I take pity on you.
When I did look into the dictionary, compassion however meant a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry or in trouble. It is also a hope that a person’s suffering diminish. More important was the word “sahahrdayi” which was essential to experience Karuna free of arrogance, the empathy, with the sufferer.
Many times if I wonder if the character of Karna in the Mahabharata is a takeoff, the word Karuna some one who was kind. Maybe his greatest weakness was the need to return the kindness that Kaurava bestowed on him, well now the word that is used as synonym of compassion Kindness… even this somewhere hints of a person who bestows and another who receiver. Actually, the best helping hand is at the end of our arm, and as we get older we could do well to remember that we have another hand, one help ourselves and the other to help others.
Let me go into the nitty gritty details of understanding the word compassion, in whatever context, other than self pity, we tend to externalize it, I mean be compassionate to others we never think in terms of being compassionate to ourselves while that would really take us a long way in healing ourselves
Self compassion helps us see our most tender wounds without judgement. Showing compassion t ourselves we are willing to see/feel the reality of our pain without covering it up or fixing it. Once this level of self love is achieved a door opens to the understanding of why the pain is there. As we befriend ourselves, awareness reveals the cause that created the wound in the first place. At the core of every wand is a thought, a belief that we are separated from god, from love, a fear that we are unworthy of the love, it is a belief that we have accepted about ourselves. We are the only ones who change this belief for ourselves. After all everything is a thought and a thought can be changed.