Seeing Past Yourself-2

Your feelings are not in your control. Mostly. Your actions are. I hope. Sometimes you feel indifferent or selfish or neutral, sometimes you don’t really feel anything when you see the other person in pain. Fine. It’s human (or inhuman), it’s not nice, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. You can’t choose your feelings, but, you can choose your behavior, you can act a certain way, in a compassionate way, in a more caring way. If you do that, before long, the river of empathy will murmur in your heart all through the four seasons.

Someone is having a headache and they are crying in pain. You don’t feel their pain. No problems. This may be how you are. But, get up and offer them medicine. This is compassion. Hear them out without reacting. This is empathy. When you practice both, you will not only begin to understand their pain, you will actually feel it. Your own existence goes through a profound transformation when you start to feel the pain of others. This is perhaps the most compelling thing about compassion and empathy: it actually helps you grow – spiritually and emotionally. You benefit directly when you act selflessly.

I once read somewhere: to understand the pain of the other person, don’t just step into his shoes but run a mile in them. If at the end of that run, you still don’t feel his pain, then, what the heck, at least you are a mile away from the sorry fellow and you have his shoes.

This was just for the laughs, because, the only other emotion as divine as compassion and empathy is humor. Like all good emotions, it’s enriching both for the giver and the recipient. Even materially. How else could Jerry Seinfeld be the wealthiest actor, you think? Imagine if acting humor could be so enriching, what would feeling it be like? Materially or spiritually. When you can’t be compassionate, when you can’t empathize, when you don’t feel their pain, at least don’t be mad; that’s what I mean to say.

Let’s loosen up a bit and see beyond our own desires, preferences and demands. The world will look a lot different then, it won’t feel as cold or morbid. Actually, I’m reminded of a beautiful sufi verse:

Khuda humko aisi khudai na de, ki apne siwa kuch dikhayi na de.

Mujhe aisi jannat nahin chahiye, jahan se doosre ki awaz sunayi na de.

Don’t bless me with so much lord that I [get so obsessed with myself that I] fail to see past me. I don’t want a heaven from where I can’t hear the cries of others.

When it comes to the pain of others, try to feel it. At least, try. If you can’t do that then reflect on it, think about it. If that’s too hard too then at least behave yourself so you don’t hurt others. That will do the trick. Above all, remember, we have no right to cause pain to the other person. None whatsoever.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!


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