Compassion without action is empty, without impact.
Sympathy without alleviating suffering is useless pity. It breaks the heart and changes nothing. What is a compassionate observer? I watch you struggle and do nothing.
I say, “I will send you love and prayers.” I will give the burden to a Source greater than myself, outside of myself. I will say, “All is perfect and in Divine Order.” How does that alleviate suffering, there is no action to support? “I can’t interfere. Everyone must learn from their own direct experience,” or “Trust, there is a Divine Order, a Source greater than myself, greater than my understanding.”
I say these platitudes with conviction all the time. I am in conflict, deep inside my soul. The definition of compassion is sympathy, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate suffering. How then can one become a compassionate observer? My common sense, practical side says, “Get up and do something about this.” Yet I am told to learn to walk the middle path. My heart says, “No, cry out, rush in and stand firm.”
My conflict swings between being the non-judgmental observer and the activist.
I am both, inconstant and inconsistent. I am the observer who believes in Divine Order and I am the activist who reaches out to give the water required. If my action is wrong, I am sorry. I know no other way, but to follow the passions of my heart.
If I error, I accept this. I do not yet possess an awareness of all wisdom. I define compassion not as sympathy alone, but sympathy with a desire to alleviate suffering. I seek to heal the wounds of myself and all life, not observe it. Perhaps one day I will understand the observer in me, today is not that day.
I am willing to observe suffering in reflection, as a concept or philosophy necessary for growth. I am unwilling to do that when compassion in action is required. To have pity without action, in the face of tragedy is the fulfillment of the ego, nothing more. I concede there are moments when there is truly nothing that can be done. I refuse to accept that is the case more often than not.
I accept this conflict within me and the world I observe. I have no answer.
I am simply calling awareness to the conflict of the philosophy of observer versus the action in compassion. The very definitions of the words are in conflict, compassion and observer. Until I can understand I ask for compassion from the observer, within and without.