idreamofindia said: How do you differentiate between being compassionate and giving or being taken advantage of? I find that I try to be a good friend but I often feel like I'm spending most of my time and resources on them.
Compassion does not mean catering to other people’s desires; it means having a tender and open heart for other people’s suffering. It does not dictate your actions but it does guide the insight that precedes action.
A good mother cares for her children fiercely and with an awakened heart, yet is she taken advantage of? A good mother knows when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’ and all the while it is with the best interests of her children in mind. That is compassion.
In the context of friendship, compassion means a heartfelt awareness of your friends and their suffering. Is trying to make them feel better or trying to be a ‘good’ friend by spending money on them going to help them in the long run? Or is it just perpetuating the cycle?
Sometimes it is more compassionate to give people the space they need to heal, even if it isn’t necessarily in alignment with their preferences. Practicing tonglen is a fantastic way of stepping into someone else’s shoes, feeling what they are feeling, and meeting it with open compassion.
A book I would strongly recommend on the matter is The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.
Namaste :) Much love.
This note is aligned with today’s thoughts on self care.
Yesterday began the season of nonviolence. Honoring the 64 days I’ve decided to practice silence on Facebook, making no status updates until April 4th. An important aspect of nonviolence is listening. Each day I will focus my attention on a single concept in the practice of nonviolence and note it in a journal, eventually posting here. Today is listening. I will go to the beach and listen to the wind and the surf. I will listen to my heartbeat. I will listen to my sorrow over losses caused by my lack of listening. I will keep still and quiet, and just listen.