Compassion means to breathe with another. It is neither empathy nor sympathy, as it isn’t about feeling another’s feelings. Rather it is the ability to walk beside others with a helping hand, without falling into the hole with them. Compassion is openhearted clarity—it is being able to stand witness to the human experience with recognition and understanding. By experiencing compassion in this way, we become more gentle and forgiving of ourselves. This, in turn, allows us to do the same toward others.

We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors to one another, to seek those who reflect with compassion and a keen eye how we are doing, whether we seem centered or off course . . . we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing. Wayne Muller

This is what we create within a loving, supportive group of friends and spiritual community. We come together with compassion for each other’s fears and foibles, while being able to see the truth in each other. This is the greatest gift we can give.

Spiritual Contemplation: How comfortable am I to simply be with and walk with another’s fear or pain without having to fix or change them? Can I simply sit and be a benevolent presence without jumping into judgment or control?

Affirmation: I open my heart to the human experience while staying firmly grounded in spiritual truth. I am compassionate and present with those around me.

Receive Dr. Petra’s Daily Word delivered directly to your inbox every morning! Click HERE to add some practical positivity to your day.