This is an important fact that we tend not to see because our ideas about compassion are not accurate. Look for yourself. What kind of compassion have you believed in and acted from? For most of us, it's obvious where our prejudice lies. Our compassion has not been on the side of truth; it has been on the side of feeling good. That is not the compassion of Essence; it is the compassion of emotions. It is understandable that it hurts to see someone hurting. You may also feel compassionate towards yourself when you are hurting; this compassion helps. So what is the relationship between hurt, truth, and compassion?
Compassion is a kind of healing agent that helps us tolerate the hurt of seeing the truth. The function of compassion in the Work is not to reduce hurt; its function is to lead to truth. Much of the time truth is painful or scary. Compassion makes it possible to tolerate that hurt and fear. It helps us persist in our search for truth. Truth ultimately will dissolve the hurt, but this is a by-product and not the major purpose of compassion.
In fact, it is only when compassion is present that people allow themselves to see the truth. Where there is no compassion, there is not trust. If someone is compassionate toward you, you trust him enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to see the truth rather than reject it. The compassion doesn't alleviate the pain; it makes the pain meaningful, make it part of the truth, makes it tolerable.
This way of viewing compassion makes a tremendous difference in our lives. Seeing compassion as a guide to the truth rather than as something to alleviate hurt can change the way we behave toward ourselves, our friends, everyone. It may seem like a subtle difference, but one perspective will take you away from truth, and the other will take you toward it. One will keep you unconscious, and the other will help you learn the truth."
A. H. Almaas, Diamond Heart, Book One, "Truth and Compassion"
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