“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
– Andrew Boyd.
This goes right along with the quote from the movie Apocalypse Now when Marlon Brando says, “Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.”
The suffering we experience can bring us great compassion. Passion to serve others. This is the compassion which makes life a thing of beauty. The order of this transformation is sorrow, then passion and then beauty. One must see sorrow to have passion. This compassion gives birth to beauty. This beauty is compassion in action. (C.I.A.) (Just for fun.)
I see this compassion growing every day. All the division gets washed away when you see the connection that takes place in everything. All the hurt is shared and that is something special. We share this existence with so many beings.
I sat down and meditated on the grass. After a while, my knees became agitated and I began to fidget. I held it for the rest of the sit as I felt the ants and bugs landing and crawling all over me. I observed, and when I came out of it I looked at my leg. There were the tiniest little ants that I ever did see on my legs, as well as some other larva type things that were just as small and hardly noticeable.
I thought about how I was sitting on the grass earlier that same day, not meditating. I couldn’t feel any crawlers at that time, yet they were there. My very backyard is a massive ecosystem of beings who all feel that they’re in the middle. All equals in that sense, and consequently all my friends. I never thought about the awareness I would feel with the bugs in my environment before. I’ve always been interested in them, watching the beauty in dragon flies and lady bugs. Now I can even see the beauty in ear wigs and larva, because I feel for them.
As I left the meditation I stood up and walked to the front yard. During my walk I noticed all these little buggers roaming around. So many of them. A fun statistic if you’re equanimous with it is that ants have a larger overall mass on the Earth than humans do. To be experientially aware of this mass we’ve got to be okay with it. We are as much as a part of the ecosystem as they are. As Alan Watts says, “If we can say that an apple tree that grows apples, is an apple tree that apples, then we can say that a universe that has people is a universe that peoples.”
We’ve come out of this Earth, we didn’t come to it and we weren’t made and left as we are. We’re continually changing and continually growing along with all life’s creatures. As much as this universe peoples, it ants, it fishes, it tigers, it plants. It does everything and everyone and we wouldn’t be people if it didn’t do it all.
If we don’t see the horror and make friends with it, we’ll think it’s a horror. It will be something gross. All these insects in the world, crawling on us. Disgusting. It’s the same way that someone can superficially see beauty. As Goenka says, for someone who is so blind to craving by his or her sexual desires, to contemplate the body or to go see a dead body will bring some sense to this person. What is this organism of flesh, bile, blood and mucus? That could also be seen as disgusting. Yet, we will only see the true beauty in anything when we see it as it is. That is, body as body, insects as insects and horror as horror. Then, it won’t hurt so much.
Let’s listen to what the Dalai Lama has to say on this subject.
In his younger years…
In his old age…