Avoid pity; it is the near enemy of compassion - The Buddha

In Buddhism, there is an important concept called "the near enemy." This refers to something that is similar to the good thing you're aiming at, but different enough that it becomes poison instead of medicine.

The near enemy of compassion is pity.

Refrain from feeling sorry for anyone else.

Remember that on a soul level all humans choose their challenges, although the forgetting of this brings about blame, guilt, and accusations. So don't pity your neighbor.

Instead, consider helping without pity.

Helping your neighbor can sometimes be useful.

There are a few criteria to help you judge whether or not it is worthwhile to offer help.

First, the emphasis is on "offering" help, because you usually should not help without asking first (unless it's a life-or-death emergency).

Unwanted assistance can be quite disempowering to a person who might be on the verge of a self-discovered solution.

The second criteria for helping is noticing whether you need anything in return or reward for your help.

If you are helping in order to pay off an emotional or social debt, or if you are investing in future gifts the needy person can provide, your help is transactional and not purely charitable.

That should not completely prevent you from helping, but it is a reality to keep in mind: you are still doing business, not giving from the heart.

Compassion means "feeling with someone," and compassion is related to empathy.

In compassion, you can imagine what another person's pain feels like, and you really "get it."

You can sit with the person, sit with the problem being faced, and primarily understand and share the challenge.

Next, if an answer is needed, you can listen to the person who is struggling and, through listening, elicit a response that is appropriate for that person in this moment.

That solution may be very different from how you would tackle the problem! So be it.

The soul sometimes walks a roundabout authentic path.

How can you further develop your art of compassion?

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