“In the paradox of life sometimes our compassion requires us to say yes and sometimes it requires us to say no. These may seem like opposites but they are not. There is no formula for the practice of compassion. Like all of the great spiritual arts, it requires that we listen and attend, understand our motivation, and then ask ourselves what action can really be helpful. Compassion exhibits the flexibility of a bamboo bending with the changing circumstances, setting limits when necessary and being flexible at the same time.
Compassion allows life to pass through our hearts with its great paradoxes of life, love, joy, and pain. When compassion opens in us, we give what we can to stop the war, to heal the environment, to care for the poor, to care for people with AIDS, to save the rain forests. Yet true compassion also loves ourselves, respects our own needs, honors our limits, and our true capacity.”
Jack Kornfield, in “A Path With Heart”
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