-by Chögyam Trungpa (Feb 14, 2014)
To the conventional way of thinking, compassion simply means being kind and warm. This sort of compassion is described in the scriptures as “grandmother’s love.” You would expect the practitioner of this type of compassion to be extremely kind and gentle; he would not harm a flea. If you need another mask, another blanket to warm yourself, he will provide it. But true compassion is ruthless, from ego’s point of view, because it does not consider ego’s drive to maintain itself. It is “crazy wisdom.” It is totally wise, but it is crazy as well, because it does not relate to ego’s literal and simple-minded attempts to secure its own comfort.
The logical voice of ego advises us to be kind to other people, to be good boys and girls and lead innocent little lives. We work at our regular jobs and rent a cozy room or apartment for ourselves; we would like to continue in this way, but suddenly something happens which tears us out of our secure little nest. Either we become extremely depressed or something outrageously painful occurs. We begin to wonder why heaven has been so unkind. “Why should God punish me? I have been a good person, I have never hurt a soul.” But there is something more to life than that.
What are we trying to secure? Why are we so concerned to protect ourselves? The sudden energy of ruthless compassion severs us from our comforts and securities. If we were never to experience this kind of shock, we would not be able to grow. We have to be jarred out of our regular, repetitive, and comfortable lifestyles. The point of meditation is not merely to be an honest or good person in the conventional sense, trying only to maintain our security. We must begin to become compassionate and wise in the fundamental sense, open and relating to the world as it is. […]
So-called “love” relationships usually take one of two patterns: either we are being “fed” by someone or we are “feeding” others. These are false, distorted kinds of love or compassion. […] However, there is another kind of love and compassion, a third way.
Just be what you are.
You do not reduce yourself to the level of an infant nor do you demand that another person leap into your lap. You simply be what you are in the world, in life. If you can be what you are, external situations will become as they are, automatically. Then you can communicate directly and accurately, not indulging in any kind of nonsense, any kind of emotional or philosophical or psychological interpretation. This third way is a balanced way of openness and communication which automatically allows tremendous space, room for creative development, space in which to dance and exchange.
Compassion means that we do not play the game of hypocrisy or self-deception. For instance, if we want something from someone and we say, ” I love you,” often we are hoping that we will be able to lure them into our territory, over to our side. This kind of proselytizing love is extremely limited. “You should love me, even if you hate me, because I am filled with love, am high on love, am completely intoxicated!” What does it mean? Simply that the other person should march into your territory because you say that you love him, that you are not going to harm him. It is very fishy. Any intelligent person is not going to be seduced by such a ploy. “If you really love me as I am, why do you want me to enter your territory? Why this issue of territory and demands at all? What do you want from me? How do I know, if I do march into your loving’ territory, that you aren’t going to dominate me, that you won’t create a claustrophobic situation with your heavy demands for love?” As long as there is territory involved with a person’s love, other people will be suspicious of his “loving” and “compassionate” attitude. How do we make sure, if a feast is prepared for us, that the food is not dosed with poison? Does this openness come from a centralized person, or is it total openness?
The fundamental characteristic of true compassion is pure and fearless openness without territorial limitations. There is no need to be loving and kind to one’s neighbors, no need to speak pleasantly to people and put on a pretty smile. This little game does not apply. In fact it is embarrassing. Real openness exists on a much larger scale, a revolutionarily large and open scale, a universal scale. Compassion means for you to be as adult as you are, while still maintaining a childlike quality. A symbol for compassion is one Moon shining in the sky while its image is reflected in one hundred bowls of water. The Moon does not demand, “If you open to me, I will do you a favor and shine on you.” The Moon just shines. The point is not to want to benefit anyone or make them happy. There is no audience involved, no “me” and “them.” It is a matter of an open gift, complete generosity without the relative notions of giving and receiving. That is the basic openness of compassion: opening without demand.
Simply be what you are, be the master of the situation. If you will just “be,” then life flows around and through you. This will lead you into working and communicating with someone, which of course demands tremendous warmth and openness.