In the words of Bhante, “Who cares!”.
At first, that sounded rather cold and uncaring to me. Then I realized how much suffering I give myself by constantly asking that question. I really do not have to attach my self to all the thoughts and emotions are that are flying past me. And I certainly do not have to take ownership of anyone else’s suffering. If you are sad, be sad. If you are angry be angry. If you are happy, be happy. These things are not mine. I can witness all of them, be compassionate, and not attach. If I am truly mindful, I can see the beauty in all of those things. I can see you are alive, you are experiencing. This is wonderful!
But I assure you, old habits die hard. I have spent all my life attaching. With the belief that compassion meant empathy.
Empathy I think is a very unhealthy attitude. You take on another persons suffering and feel it for yourself. This does not ever make that person better, but surely makes you suffer!
A friend of mine, from many years ago, used to say to me “I think you like a little Dukkha“. I would laugh and say, no of course I don’t! Well, my friend was so very right. She could see what I could not. With little to no awareness or mindfulness, I was choosing to suffer.
Do I still bite off a mouthful of Dukkha sometimes? Absolutley!
But the difference is, that now I see it. Now I have a choice on how I see things and how my mind handles them. I can be mindful, loving, kind and compassionate. I do not have to suffer!
It’s all baby steps for me right now. But like a toddler, it is such a joyful experience to take those first wobbly steps. What to do!
May you be well, happy and peaceful.