Sunday, 6 February 2011


We say about someone:  'They're so compassionate.'  What we mean is they're kind or loving or giving or helpful or pitying, show mercy.  A definition is 'to be aware of someone's suffering'.

But real compassion is the willingness to be totally uncompromising.  To refuse to do what the other person is asking you to do unless it is pointing them in the way of reality. Just being aware of someone's suffering is pointless - it does nothing - for either party.

It's a totally stubborn refusal to support a story.  It's understanding what a story is, why it's there, how it's working and what it does for the person  - and then being willing to destroy it - constantly  loosening the threads, snipping away, until the story (whatever it is)  drops away - or sometimes just being brutal and yanking it away; giving them no opportunity to pull it back.

This applies to all sorts of scenarios - parents to children, adults to parents, teachers to pupils, managers to employees, friend to friend....  Ultimately it's about being willing to be honest. Because feeding someone a false story to either appease them or yourself is cowardice.  It's how society works generally.

Take Santa Claus - we tell little children that a big man - a stranger -  is going to come into their room and they must keep their eyes closed and pretend that he's not there.  In the next breath, we're saying don't trust anyone you don't know; if any man offers you something and you don't know him, run away - scream.  But we teach them that it's ok to let a stranger into their bedroom in the middle of the night, cos he's bringing them presents!  And we use this story to exert power over them for the rest of the year.  "If you're not good, Santa won't come" (poor love, he only comes once a year anyway!).  We lie to our children so that we can manipulate their behaviour to make things easier for ourselves.  And that's when the whole stinking story of make-believe begins: fairies, vampires, zombies, god, spirits, ghosts.  Imagine what it would be like if we didn't promote stuff that doesn't exist. And just said to kids "carry on playing  - enjoy the rain/sunshine/wind and forget about stuff that doesn't exist."  (they'd look at you strangely anyway - cos that's all they do!).

And to do that, we'd have to drop our own stories about 'stuff that's not happening' and be absolutely certain that what we're saying is unassailably true -  that the tales we tell and the things we say we believe  ARE  stories.  But OUR stories are the ultimate addiction.  In order to present truth,  it has to be demonstrated - with no shadow of a doubt.  And that means seeing your own story to begin with. And once you see that, it can only ever be a story.

And once you know something, you can't unknow it (I don't mean remembering something) I mean KNOWING.

Refusing to buy into a story and demonstrating to others what their stories are in a way that's obvious, is difficult - it flies in the face of how society is structured.  It's not popular, that's for sure! Whether  it's seen or not is out of your hands - it's not down to you and it's not down to them.  Being willing to point it out though,  is compassion.  Com-passion.   With Passion.  Total Conviction.

1 comment:

  1. nonetheless a fat stranger with a red suite and a white beard... what kind of kid should trust such a man who bears gifts?!