“Compassion is the key in Islam and Buddhism and Judaism and Christianity. They are profoundly similar.” – Karen Armstrong
Exactly so! Of course, compassion happens to be the key to any of the religions and “spiritual” formulas I have studied. And I have looked at quite a few besides Buddhism and the Abrahamic religions. You wonder why so many beliefs have that compassionate stance in common? What is it about embracing and projecting the compassionate stance?
A compassionate stance is one that says I care about others, despite beliefs, opinions, behaviors, and attitudes. A compassionate stance means I respect and value you as a Human, Being. I am able to imagine how you feel in your world, I can’t know, so I use my ability to imagine how you are experiencing your existence. And more importantly, I will embrace this action of compassion as action, not just philosophy.
Being compassionate means I don’t have to understand or agree no matter how other positions impact me. In seeking the root meaning of compassion, I traced it to Roman soldiers giving food and water to downed enemies. No matter that they just got done trying to kill each other, or still have hate, anger, and aggression. The soldiers could easily see themselves in the enemy and be willing to ease the suffering.
Being compassionate always leaves an open door for further understanding. So even if we are devout enemies, if I stay in attention, embrace, and project compassion, there will always be a bridge between us, thin and narrow perhaps, but still a possibility for increased traffic and connection.
I genuinely have love for what Karen Armstrong is pointing towards, rather than develop some separate self position of superiority, the mine is better or superior mentality, better to accept we can care, have compassion, support each other, and have a growing curiosity about what we all believe in despite our differences. We are very much alike because of our difference not despite them.
Take care of all you love this weekend, and that includes you!