I looked up the word compassion online and found the following definition: “Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.”
It’s not simply caring or concern, hurting along with another, or even empathy. Instead compassion is all of those things with an added layer that spurs action — the desire to help.
I am in the stage of writing that involves holding up ideas and running my thoughts over them to feel their texture. I’m stretching and twisting and pulling at concepts to see if, like the potter, I can begin to loosen them into a moldable form that might one day begin to take shape.
My mind keeps returning to this strange word compassion with its layers of feeling and complexity of character. The word comes from Latin, meaning co-suffering. What is it that builds compassion in one individual while others are self-focused or oblivious or worse, cruel and uncaring? What is it?