I would like to be tethered by the idea that you travel together in groups or communities like a field of flowers blossoming together in the spring. People so often feel alone and feel the pain of this aloneness because being solitary and being human seems to be incompatible estates. Our friends and family, if we have any of each, would feel different without our presence. Without you, all is different. This idea is also a feeling that holidays and other notable days, both public and private, bring home in a swift and relevant way, often when we are not looking for it.
If you are taken by surprise by feelings of isolation and aloneness, you are being kidnapped and should report it to any person you are close to or feel close to. Short of that, remember that compassion toward yourself is an understanding that you are also accepting yourself as part of the human family and not isolating your particular instance of humanity from the rest of the folks that populate your world. You probably have to be reminded of that because it seems that people growing up in this culture, and growing at various rates and in different time zones means that you are at various life stages at various times with many instances of overlap and re-occurring growing. This means that you are young and old and in your teenager phase at the most inopportune times or these stages are cohabiting with your infant and mature stages while you think you’re just riding along on the linear clock that is your life Monday through Friday. We all know that much as we like to believe we’re in the flow, we are segmented creatures of time and cannot help but distinguish who we are on the weekends from our Monday through Friday selves. If you can, count yourself a rare bird.
For the rest of us that are humans and not rare birds – it is compassion for others, that ability to suffer along with someone, to be in their difficulty and their pain with them, in your heart, in your imagination, in your real and virtual body and mind, that is the soul of compassion. What lies at the root of compassion is the notion that you can also suffer along with yourself, you can lift the burden of your pain by being kind to your self. Compassion, to suffer with, is a way toward easing the shoulds and should nots that crowd your head and leave so little room for joy and focus. Your compassion toward others, your ability to see another’s pain and be there with them in some way that tries to lift their pain, to ease their burden and let them know that they are not so alone, is a kindness that we rarely afford ourselves. Why we have to be reminded to be good to ourselves? The myriad ways our inner negatives supplant our natural joys. But once you identify the beasts of your inner burdens you can share the wealth of heart and soul you have with yourself. Nobody can see that you’re doing this. It’s totally discreet, inside, protected and safe. Melville referred to an “insular Tahiti”, a place in the mind that was secluded but also healing and free from the messed up miseries that you or the world might want to pile on your head.
If you’re an inland person and not on an island or near a body of water or the shore than an “insular Tahiti” might be the perfect solution to your need for renewal and contact with that part of yourself that is easy on your soul and a bodhisvatta of kindness. Compassion isn’t just something you leave to others or give away. You can hold yourself within the embrace of compassion and if need be thank another for the peace you deserve.