Matthew 25: 31-36: I was thirsty and
you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me
Can you teach compassion? Can you regulate for it? After some shocking, almost unbelievable cases of brutality in care institutions towards the defenceless and the elderly, training courses and tighter rules were introduced. Somebody was doing something. (After a disaster we say â€˜somebody should do something about itâ€™.)
Perhaps training and regulations help enforce the basic principle that at the least we should do no harm to others. But compassion is more than behaviour. It is the way that things are done. Above all it is the source from which action flows towards self and others. The source of compassion is not less than the true self, that irreducible â€˜Iâ€™ in which the ego has been fully absorbed and therefore is invisible and casts no shadow.
When action flows from this non-geographical point of pure identity it is unconcerned about what it looks like and even about whether it is good or bad in the eyes of others. Compassion is pure action issuing from purity of heart. It is carried along towards others by a force of generosity which is too complete and too fulfilling for it to worry about what it is going to get in return.
Does this sound like meditation? It does, because it is meditation. When the true self is in play everything that is thought and done is a form of meditation. Until then, we have to learn and re-learn to stay centred and be simple. We have to remember when we forget. Saying the mantra is just this learning process. To say the mantra wholeheartedly, generously, purely, begins to orientate the whole person in this un-self-centred direction. It sets this tone for everything. Meditation lets us be compassionate because it is compassionate.