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“The Buddha was once asked, “What is the wise way of responding to suffering?” He answered by explaining the possible paths of response, some that would lead to complexity and increased suffering, and others that would lead to compassion and the end of suffering. He spoke of the path of despair and powerlessness that only leads to a darkness of heart. “Why is this happening to me? Life is unfair.” He spoke of the path of blame and the agitation and disconnection that follow in the wake of blame. “It is your fault, it is you who made me suffer.” He spoke of the path of guilt, the exaggerated sense of responsibility that claims all suffering as personal failure. “It is my fault, my inadequacy that has brought this sorrow.” He spoke too of the path of investigation, the compassionate exploration of sorrow and struggle; and exploration that is concerned not so much with denying suffering, as with understanding its cause and its end. It is an exploration that acknowledges that not all pain can be eradicated, but that there may be a way of discovering freedom within the painful and the end of suffering. This is the path of compassionate simplicity.  Compassion is concerned with bringing to stillness the agitation and fear of our own hearts, bridging the gap of disconnection, separation, and distance. It does not mean that pain will always disappear or that we will discover a solution to every dispute and conflict. We cannot always fix every moment of distress, but we can always be present, awake, and receive each moment with compassion and simplicity.  Faced with difficult, painful situations and people in our lives, our minds and hearts become ensnared in frenzied attempts to find a solution or explanation. In the efforts we make to alter, modify, and fix, we begin caught up in a despair that leads to avoidance or suppression. Our compassion, that leads us to reach out, to help, and heal, is hijacked by the desperate desire to make

Compassion is concerned with bringing to stillness the agitation and fear of our own hearts, bridging the gap of disconnection, separation, and distance. It does not mean that pain will always disappear or that we will discover a solution to every dispute and conflict. We cannot always fix every moment of distress, but we can always be present, awake, and receive each moment with compassion and simplicity.  Faced with difficult, painful situations and people in our lives, our minds and hearts become ensnared in frenzied attempts to find a solution or explanation. In the efforts we make to alter, modify, and fix, we begin caught up in a despair that leads to avoidance or suppression. Our compassion, that leads us to reach out, to help, and heal, is hijacked by the desperate desire to make

Faced with difficult, painful situations and people in our lives, our minds and hearts become ensnared in frenzied attempts to find a solution or explanation. In the efforts we make to alter, modify, and fix, we begin caught up in a despair that leads to avoidance or suppression. Our compassion, that leads us to reach out, to help, and heal, is hijacked by the desperate desire to make pain disappear. Too often we are left feeling frustrated and powerless. Some years ago, a gunman burst into a school and opened fire on a classroom of children. Amid the devastating grief and bewilderment that followed, a journalist asked the parish priest, “How do you explain what has happened here? You’re a religious leader and many people feel that they are in need of an explanation. How could this happen, how could someone do this?” The priest answered, “To try to explain this event is not the way. This is not the time for trying to understand something of this order.” There is not always an answer or a satisfactory explanation for the pain in the world. Suffering is held most fully in a still, receptive, responsive silence. The words of healing, the responses of courage and wisdom, are born of that simplicity. Compassion is not just an accident, a random moment of openness. The still simplicity of the listening heart is always available to us; learning to let go gently of our demands for answers and solutions, liberates the heart to listen.”   Christina Feldman

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