The Passion for Compassion
The annual passion play of Easter is upon us. For many a time to enjoy with family and friends. A chance to relax and have a few laughs. For some it's too near to Christmas to endure. For my kids it's an EVENT they have been looking forward to since Australia Day.
At school the priests and nuns told me that Jesus died for my sins. That story is the first example of compassion I remember. Joan Halifax is a Buddhist teacher who works with people at the end of their lives. She says that compassion allows us to see clearly into the nature of suffering, but we cannot be attached to the outcome of that suffering. Those she tends to the dying with are mostly woman - they use their hands to ease suffering and their eyes to convey love. Joan adds that the enemies of compassion are pity, moral outrage and fear. If I reflect on society today, I know this to be true.
"Love and compassion are necessary, they are not luxuries, without them HUMANITY will not survive", so says the Dalai Lama.
Compassion then is the trick to surviving Easter, we can use our empathy to understand a person's behaviour and direct kindness to them anyway. And on the plus side, science tells us that being compassionate enhances neural integration and our immune systems.