What is Compassion?
Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. (Dictionary.com)
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. (Henry James, novelist)
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” - Stephen Grellet
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. (Albert Einstein (1875-1955), German-born American theoretical physicist, theories of relativity, philosopher)
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.“ - Mother Teresa (1910-97), Albanian-born Indian nun, founded Missionaries of Charity, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace. (Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), French philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel Peace Prize)
Make no judgments where you have no compassion. (Anne McCaffrey)
Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds. Compassion grows out of the things we are, and lives in our hearts. (Barbara Garrison (b. 1931), writer, author)
Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy. (Dean Koontz, American horror author)
There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success. (George Burton Adams (1851-1925), American educator, historian)
How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. (George Washington Carver (1864-1943), American botanist, agricultural chemist, inventor, educator)
Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation. (Henry Ward Beecher (1813-87), American clergyman)
Compassion for myself is the most powerful healer of them all. (Theodore Isaac Rubin)
Most quotes from the Foundation for a Better Life, www.forbetterlife.org
Reflection Questions about Compassion
How do you show compassion? Are compassionate with yourself, your family, your friends, anyone you encounter in a day’s journey? In what additional ways could you demonstrate compassion? Do you put yourself in other people’s shoes and attempt to see things from their perspective?
Who are your role models for compassion?