On Compassion

On January 13, 2010 I posted on my facebook page a quote from J. Krishnamurty. I present below the quote and the ensuing responses as relevant background to the question of compassion.

"The mind can pursue sensations, desires, but it cannot pursue love. Love must come to the mind. And, when once love is there, it has no division as sensuous and divine: it is love. That is the extraordinary thing about love: it is the only quality that brings a total comprehension of the whole of existence.” ~~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Paul Arneson
“Does love come to the mind or does love come to the heart, and then the mind comprehends/understands love? Is not love a feeling, albeit an all consuming feeling. Love was there before understanding. Compassion is a form of love, it is love without sensuality.”

Shiv Datt Talwar
“There doesn't seem to be a hard and fast definition of the word 'heart' nor for the 'mind'. The mind may be considered an entry point to the heart and the head. Our senses input to the mind and from there the signals go to the heart or the head. That may be a way of making sense of it.”

Wade Hudson
“Since the heart is mid-way between the gut and the brain, I like to think of the heart as the place that integrates emotions and thoughts. I think of the mind, or spirit, as the system that synthesizes it all, so it is rooted in the heart.”

Shiv Datt Talwar
“Well said, Wade. Thank you.”

“What is compassion and how to engender it?”

My response to this question piggybacks on the quoted response of Wade Hudson. I like Wade’s explanation that love is rooted in the heart and the heart being mid-way between the gut and the brain integrates emotions and thought. Compassion is an outcome of love. In fact, they are both talked about together.

The feelings of love and compassion thus result from a process. This process is that of integration between gut feelings and thought.

Lets is look at gut feelings or raw emotions. They consist of our likes, wants, desires, dislikes, aversions, hatreds and fears. Individual beings are individuals because they stand apart from the rest. The inherit feelings of us and them as separate beings is at the cause of our raw emotions resulting in patent selfishness. This sense of division is strong because it is based on sense input. There is no witness as strong as an eye witness.

Let us now look at thought. We are thinking beings. We see that we are individual beings but we still are alike. We share attributes with other natural beings. We reason we are somehow connected and together. But the evidence of implied reason is weak. It does not result in convictions with strength matching that of raw emotions.

Are we separate and divided or are we one and together? In fact, we are both. At the immediate sense level, there is no denying the fact of our individuality and separateness. And at the ultimate thought level, we are one as we all result from one principle whatever that principle might be.
Love and compassion result from the mediation by the heart between the raw emotions emanating from the sense perception of our separateness and our thoughts of oneness.

For perfect love and compassion, therefore, the strength of the thought of our underlying oneness must match that of our sense perception of individuality. May I add that the former results from inner growth whereas the latter is natural and autonomous and we are born with it?

To teach genuine compassion therefore we need to teach the principles of our underlying oneness to total conviction without which I am afraid that compassion is merely a mushy feeling which comes and goes.