The Wounds of Compassion
The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~ Rumi
I believe it was yogi John McAfee who offered that at some point in our lives, we have all wanted a person to be an illusion.
I grew up holding fairy tales in one hand and the threat of nuclear annihilation in the other. Diving under desks was part of our monthly grammar school ritual. How on earth this was to protect us from the A-bomb, few of us understood or believed – though we may have wanted to. I remember wanting very much to trust the adult world in general, but it did not arise spontaneously. A sense of safety was not to be sated, either at home or afield. And so I winged it. My imagination soared with perhaps more frequency than was healthy at times. Still my feet sought the ground of Mother Earth – I could not seem to settle on or about asphalt. And so I courted the life of the hermit.
Withdrawing into myself proved the healthiest alternative, and life in the Maine woods provided an idyllic setting. Which is not to say it solved the bulk of my problems. Confusion reigned, even as I sheltered my spirit from the harm my personality – desirous of impossibly fitting in – would otherwise have done. Being a round peg in a world full of square slots proved difficult for my young self to accept.
Fast-forward forty years and the acceptance settles in with greater ease. And yet there are still times when the seeming and often unintentional cruelty of others sears through my delicate skin like a bad tattoo. It does not, however – like permanent ink – disfigure me. Rather it finds me retreating time and again to ponder meaning in human gestures and words, mostly those which are misguided or unexpressed. For all the resultant benefit invisibly written in the ethers, it helps me here and now in reincorporating the wholehearted desire that all beings be free from suffering.
Unless we miraculously collectively awaken to our noblest qualities, expecting guilelessness to return in kind may be unrealistic. Yet and still I seek to understand my fellows, for we share the same trials and troubles, albeit in different guises and spheres. This simple desire promotes greater ease in fundamentally embracing the other as myself, and the walls of separation begin to crumble – first in my mind and then in my world. Again I am not certain what these small actions accomplish; only that I am compelled to exercise my better judgment.