Inside and Outside

“I’m on one side. The world is on the other.” This is an interesting sentence, because as a lone person everything beyond the end of our sense “receptors” is “other”, based on our sensory experiences from infancy. If we are lucky enough to receive touching love from our parents we begin to experience beyond our physical senses, a first bonding of connection that holds love, trust, delight, nourishment in common one with another. From there we learn to love select peers. Going beyond this to bonding with all life and non- living elements and compounds is a step too far for most of us.  If this is too much at first, perhaps a first step might be to achieve compassion so that we can at least bond with living things.

How then do we achieve compassion? Because compassion is not just a nod to another’s suffering but a grasping of the essence of that suffering, and a sharing of it as far as possible, a dividing of the pain. And if this is not hard enough, when one has wronged another, how can the second share compassion without forgiving the first, which implies also a sharing of the harm done to oneself? This all implies that one must detach from self to achieve compassion, as in “forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as one is nailed to the cross.

So what does an entity lose who knows not compassion? Exactly that connection to others which must be gained to get out of one’s own skin.  So one loses connection and gains isolation, in other words, from the Christian point of view, one is isolated from the love of God, and possibly from the Buddhist point of view (?), I am not complete. I am on one side and the world is on the other.

So if we do not want this isolation, this division, we must open ourselves to all suffering and offer each other compassion. After all, what have we lost? Are we all not simple reflections one of another? The only things that prevent most of us from stampeding toward compassion are the cost in pain, the lure of coveting that which we do not possess, and our useless egos.


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