The Way Of The Way 227

Empathy is selfish, soulless. Compassion is selfless, soulful.

How we think and feel defines who we perceive we are in this life, our self. How the self experiences life as it unfolds in the now is a function of stories, generalizations and categorizes our self has created. What we experience is not the now but our stories. Moreover, our self perceives us as apart and separate from everything that is other than our self; thereby, our self denies the existence of the soul, the common progenitor of everything.

When we are freed from the world according to our self, we are selfless. Selfless, we experience life as it is, through many perspectives, not solely our own personal perspective based on our stories and generalizations. This is wisdom. Moreover, as selfless, we are the epitome of compassion as we treat others as we wish to be treated because they and us are one, not apart and separate.

Without the self, all that remains is us as an expression of the soul. The soul is the essence of everything, every-thing before it is what it is whatever it is.

For example, crying over spilt milk is selfish. Once the milk has spilled, it is now no longer. There is no reality to the milk but as it exists in our mind, the self. Our crying is in reaction to our self’s illusion that the milk existed and is now lost. Having empathy for someone crying over spilt milk implies the empath is also selfish, taking the illusion created by the self as real. This reinforces the self’s existence.

Alternatively, when we are selfless, we are soulful. We dismiss someone’s crying over spilt milk as nonsense. Instead of empathy for the person crying, we have compassion. We nurture their soul to expand its expressions. We do so by helping them see many perspectives as to how to make the best of their current circumstances. We focus on ways they can make fresh milk or other things, like babies, that expand the expressions of the soul.

Likewise and simply, empathy is when we commiserate with someone who is distraught after having lost their job. Compassion is helping them get a new job.

In consequence, as empathy is selfish we are oblivious to gratitude, a key to happiness; while compassion fills us with optimism and gratitude for all the opportunities before us. Hence, comforting someone with empathy prolongs sadness, while compassion leads them to happiness.