The Essence of Compassion

All of us are dealing with sorrow in one form or another. It seems that it is never the time or place to let the sorrow show, however. The British are known for having a stiff upper lip, but Americans are just as guilty of this, as is everyone. We are born into a world that does not know what to do with sorrow, so suppression is not taught but caught.

I remember feeling genuine sorrow when relatives would visit from another town. I was just a girl, but I loved hearing the family stories and preferred to sit with the grownups and listen. When they left, I would often cry. And then I grew up and married and left the family home. Every time I returned home for a visit, I was happy. And when the time to take leave came, I cried.

That was only the beginning of a lifetime of sorrow. When you consign a child of your own back to the earth, the tears become rain from heaven. They saturate the ground of your being. They walk with you everywhere you go.

I took to the spiritual path. It did not quell the sorrow of losing my husband. The tears over his departure will never stop entirely. But now I share with you the secret of a life lived from sorrow. Out of it, I come to know the truth of my being.

What is it? You may ask. And I would tell you that I don’t know, for truth is above the mind.

I have been talking to a mendicant in Indian many of you know as Surajit Basak. Here are a few of his words to me:

“LOVE is your eloquence…COMPASSION is your wisdom…om.”

He has advised me to ditch my intellect in favor of the great mystery. I have heard that before, but somehow his words hit home with me, as I hope mine do with you. We are all walking each other home, no matter where we live or what we do. It is the essence of compassion to honor the silence of the loving open heart.

Vicki Woodyard


  1. I feel the truth in you words, Vicki.
    Always a welcome moment in my day to hear what you say.
    Thank you.


  2. Thank you so much, Vicki, for your beautiful words. I believe in the need to “ditch the intellect” because I believe that is the place where the ego resides – and also the place we must return to in order to function in our human, earth-bound bodies. But, oh, the joy of being in that place of no words. The place where the light dissolves the sorrow. And the irony is that we must have the sorrow to get there. A constant paradox.


    1. Yes, a constant need to wake up in order to welcome paradox. We are all alike, and in our search for light, we all stumble repeatedly. We are told to put our faith in God, but maybe we have to put faith in ourselves as well. So many paradoxes….


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