Compassion [karuna]

5 of 6
Compassion and equanimity

It’s equanimity - the fourth of the brahma-viharas as I teach them - which helps compassion not fall into its near enemies such as pity or grief. Equanimity provides some balance.

It’s said that equanimity endows compassion with courage because we can come close, we can open, and we can look, without feeling that we’ve failed and it’s our fault if we can’t make all the pain go away. It’s just in the nature of things. Equanimity isn’t resignation or apathy. It’s wisdom. It’s saying, “yes, this is how things are”.

Does this potential for harming ourselves mean that it is wrong to feel them?

Reflect on the need to look at our experience truthfully and see the consequences of one set of responses as opposed to another.

Equanimity in the face of someone’s pain doesn’t mean that we don’t care, by any means, but it gives us the strength of wisdom, the clarity of wisdom, and the balance of wisdom, to recognize what we can do and what we can’t do. Where we need to let go. We need to trust in the purity of our intention, in terms of our action. We need to trust in the unfolding of events. We need to see that, no matter what, there’s going to be some pain in life.

  Compassion and metta