“There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.”
~ Milan Kundera
To have compassion for others in their full array of suffering evokes compassion for our own unknown suffering. To open our hearts to the brunt and breadth of all life bestows the gift of self-knowledge. Conversely, those who are most stuck in their past can’t realize their own past trauma–they can’t be present for it. Codependent, they try to get others to empathize so they can realize a bit of their own truth. In fact, they’re right: Sometimes just compassionately repeating someone’s story of trauma lets them see and hear it for the first time. Especially when their pain is walled off by dissociation, they’ve only been able to acknowledge it with emotional distance or intellectual fragmentation, as it always felt too distressing to look at with emotional and intellectual awareness. To have room and strength in our hearts for others creates a shared security.
We all know we should have compassion, but it’s easier said than done. It takes a truly sober and stable heart to be emotionally present, to learn a reliable process for healing trauma head-on without minimizing or self-medicating. Compassion also requires that we let go of any residual shame and programming. Unhealthy, trauma-bonded relationships are fueled by feelings of empathy for one’s suffering partner. Similarly the manufactured intimacy of casual sex promises amazing breakthroughs of erotic compassion but, like a drunken frenzy, the shared experience of emotional connectedness rarely survives daybreak. Authentic erotic compassion can take place only in the vulnerability of genuine sexual and romantic feelings, in attuning to another’s internal experience within the context of true intimacy. And not as a means of seduction or enslavement or heightening your experience. Real compassion manifests only for compassion’s sake.
DAILY HEALTHY SEX ACTS
• Today, show compassion for yourself. Look in the mirror, and feel for whatever you’re going through now. Remember where you’ve come from and the major challenges and triumphs of your past. Then, allow compassion to flow fully within your being. Feel this healing energy as a spark quickening your spirit.
• Seek out current event stories by reading or watching the news, and practice feeling compassion for all parties. Whenever you would cast blame, remember that everyone has a back-story which, if known, would surely evoke your compassion. Today, grant all people a moment of your grace.
From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss