Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Compassion"

Hill, Malik Amaru Compassion...

I think I'll take the road less traveled on this one, but first, let's examine the word by Webster's interpretation: Compassion--A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for someone struck by misfortune accompanied by a desire to alleviate the suffering; mercy.

Gary, I am sure you can relate to this seeing as how you've been resurrected from this iron and brick casket. I said I'd take the road less traveled because most who are in my present situation wish to be recipients of compassion's "feeling of deep sympathy", that's "accompanied by a desire to alleviate the suffering." And in most cases--from my gleanings--compassion is sought insidiously, or in unilateral terms.

I guess I can identify with this because this is how I used to be. At that time, however, I had my optic vision of the pains I had caused my family and friends due to my lack of understanding myself. Selfishness most definitely played a part; plus my life style before prison brought about that "learned helplessness." I was a true narcissist then, too caught up in my own perception of reality to acknowledge anyone else's views.

Coming to prison young and with an arrogant caliber of thought cost me very much. My daughter's mother and I have long since separated. She's happily married now and has another child. It has been a long process, but we've finally reached a consensus about raising our daughter. Excuse me if I stray off the theme a bit. I purposely alluded back in so as to fully make my point.

In a similar vein, I think I crippled my loved ones more by looking for them to be my fulcrum in my time of uncertainty. I come from a loving single parent home. Neither my mother nor anyone else is to blame for my poor decisions in life; however, there are some mitigating factors, but they're not enough to justify my previous claims of duress for all the chaos I caused in my life. I've always had some level of intelligence and was quite prudent in my childhood, but the streets appealed to me more than the advice my mother gave me.

So, the crux of the matter is, why place so high an expectation on those to show me compassion when that's all they've ever shown me. But, that doesn't mean that my situation should be applied to every individual's life; we all come from different circumstances that make us who we are today. I feel that once you become one of the many living dead in this iron and brick casket, the task of change is an encumbrance that you have to overcome. Dostoevsky hammered the nail in the coffin when stating: "Every man has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone" and that "there are still others which a man is even afraid to tell himself."

Any man who is aware of such reminiscencess and finds himself with regrets for his past deeds should feel the need to change; no one should have more compassion towards that than he.

On an ending note, I would like to quote a small passage from the Greatest Psychology: "It is not by 'thinking out' the entire reality, but by a change of consciousness that one can pass from the ignorance to the knowledge--the knowledge by which we become what we know. To pass from the external to a direct and intimate inner consciousness; to widen consciousness out of the limits of the ego and body; to heighten it by an inner will and aspiration and opening to the light till it passes in its ascent beyond mind; to bring down a descent of the supramental Divine through self-giving and surrender with a consequent transformation of mind, life and body--this is the integral way to the truth..."