Did you know that the word COMPASSION comes from a Latin word meaning “to suffer with”?
I think we lose so much with the modern watered-down version of the word COMPASSION. The prevalent meaning makes it out as being sweet, kind, loving to each other–pretty far removed from the root of the word & the depth of its meaning.
But, it’s understandable…
The word “suffer” doesn’t bring up pleasant connotations, so it’s understandable that it wouldn’t have much place in “Western” language or way of thinking.
If you’re Buddhist, you go, “Yeah, all of life is suffering,” & likely consider the best way to go through it as being kind, empathetic, sympathetic, selfless, etc. to others. But, once again, it’s a lost in translation type of situation.
There’s so much lost across spiritual practices & language & culture… Even though I could make the case about the word “passion” meaning “suffer” & how The Passion of the Christ being the ultimate defining event in Christian Salvation… Jesus taking on everyone’s burden/suffering FOR everyone. Alas, we are mere mortals & imperfect.
But, going back to the word COMPASSION…
Now that–the word itself–can apply to us all. It’s root meaning, what it means to be compassionate, means what it means, no matter what. There’s no limit or practice or belief that prevents any of us from knowing it’s true meaning & doing it.
With that simple knowledge–of its original meaning–I’ve re-framed compassion as “accompany during conflict” or “struggle with,” because it provides my mind with “to do” action: I can be willing to see what people are going through, and offer support toward a resolution. That, to me, is what it means to DO compassion.
That mindset allows me to connect with anyone by simply starting with curiosity about their journey, where they’re at, where they’re headed, how they were shaped & how that shapes their worldview… the things I’ve always done naturally as an extension of my love for people (which, as it turns out, is homophilia).
Kind of cool, though, that words themselves have universal meaning which, when we go back to them, can bring us together under their cover.
Diversification borne of simplification…