May 22 – Feeling Beyond the Hurt – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Withstanding the tension between opposites until we know it is “enough” releases us from the swing between one extreme and the other.” Helen Luke

Sometimes, when I think of my parents, who have hurt me, I am lulled by a wintering sky to feel for them, to try on their view, but in my empathy an old pattern kicks in and I start to lose the truth of my hurt, as if there’s only room for one set of feelings – theirs.

The struggle is a common one. So often we feel for others and lose ourselves, or cut others off to preserve ourselves. Like a radio that can only tune to one station at at time, it seems like only one side of things can be received, though all sides are broadcast.

But compassion is a deeper thing that waits beyond the tension of choosing sides. Compassion, in practice, does not require us to give up the truth of what we feel or the truth of our reality. Nor does it allow us to minimize the humanity of those who hurt us. Rather, we are asked to know ourselves enough that we can stay open to the truth of others, even when their truth or their inability to life up to their truth has hurt us.

This does not remove the emotional facts of our lives, nor does it ask us to remain in a hurtful situation. Rather, compassion asks that we open like mountains to the sky, like mountains that can withstand every kind of weather.

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