Compassionate Integrity Training Final CIT training manual 11-30 - Page 105

Compa ssionate Integrit y Tr a ining A S e cu l a r Ethic s Appr oa c h to C ulti vat ing Pe rs on al, S o ci al and E n vir on me n tal F lo u r i shing outbursts. If the parent’s desire is to help the child learn whatsoever, but if we take time to investigate, we will self-control and to eat healthier, this refusal would be doubtless discover that they do indeed experience emotional focused on the child’s benefit and his or her long-term pain, relationship issues, financial worries, non-obvious needs. Giving in to the tantrum, in this case, might simply physical ailments, or any of countless forms of suffering that be giving in to empathic distress, which would be about are not readily obvious to an outsider. Even if they are not meeting the needs of the parent, not the child. suffering now, we know that as a human being they are vulnerable to suffering just by being alive on this earth. We As can be seen in the examples above, compassion requires may need to reflect repeatedly in order to gain and strengthen discernment. There is no right or wrong answer to the this insight. It is essential for feeling empathic concern and situations given above, just as there are rarely obviously therefore also compassion, because without seeing a need, right or wrong answers in life. Compassion refers to our we will feel no need to address it. orientation toward the other – cognitively, affectively and motivationally – but it does not tell us what action is best The second component of compassion is empathic concern in any given situation. For that, we need to complement itself, the ability to care about and resonate with the other compassion with discernment, critical thinking, knowledge person. As discussed in the last module, we have a great and understanding. What compassion does do, is that it deal of empathic concern for our loved ones, but far less guarantees that our sense of concern is genuinely other- for strangers, and often very little for those we dislike. oriented and that we are seeking to meet the others’ needs, Therefore, noticing suffering and needs is not enough; not our own. Because of this, compassion is essential to we must care and have empathic concern. ethical action and to leading a life of integrity. Lastly, without a sense of self-confidence in our ability to take action, our compassion will hit a brick wall and we will feel helpless, powerless and eventually apathetic – a result The Three Components of Compassion of empathic distress. We have to believe that we have the As noted, compassion is comprised of three components: ability to do something constructive, however small. We have recognizing needs, empathic concern and a feeling of self- to think creatively also about what this constructive action confidence that one can take action. The first component could be. Often there is no immediate solution to the prob- of compassion, recognizing the needs of others, can be quite lems that face us, but that does not mean we are powerless subtle. While it is often easy to see obvious forms of outward to do anything. An incredibly powerful example of this suffering, such as someone crying or bleeding from a wound, concept is highlighted in the work of Samuel and Pearl Oliner, often people are suffering or have needs in ways that are less who interviewed rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe during the noticeable. Holocaust. Among other factors, one of the distinguishing Referring back to common humanity and self-compassion, differences among those who chose to rescue Jews and those all human beings suffer and have needs. By virtue of merely who did not was an internal sense of efficacy or agency. In being alive, we all face emotional pain and distress, we all other words, those who rescued believed that their actions, encounter sickness, we are all aging, and we will all die. even in the midst of chaos, destruction and the Nazi war On the surface, a person may appear to have no problems machine, however small, actually could make a difference. Ce n t e r for Compa s sion, I n teg r i t y a nd S e cu l ar E t hics | L ife Uni ve rsi t y | M ar ie t ta, G e or g i a - 99 -