Rinpoche encourages us to be “psycho-compassionate” rather than “psychotherapeutic” when confronted with people’s problems. Rather than trying to fix the person and their problems as in a therapeutic model, it is better, from a dharmic viewpoint, to simply be with the person, feel what they feel, have empathy for their situation. If we can connect with them empathically, then our help is already there. Often this is far more beneficial than trying to fix them.
We have all been there
Rinpoche tells of the Buddha who in his own life and teaching was able to really communicate with people because he knew what people were going through as he himself had gone through it. Rinpoche gives suggests when someone is angry, sad or lonely we should recall a time when we also were angry, sad or lonely. We have all been there.
Many of us trying to be compassionate in difficult circumstances often feel burn out and exhaustion. Rinpoche explains that compassion does not mean being self-centered involved, it means to feel empathy in the situation sincerely. In this way, there is less attachment to an outcome and less chance of feeling exhausted. “When we jump into shit we become part of the shit!”
What works for us
To be truly compassionate or kind we need to let go of our ownership of the compassion. Instead of thinking “I am being kind”, simply referencing “kind”. That’s enough. With this attitude, we will have less attachment to the result and to the concept that we are creating a “kind event”.
When we can be with someone with empathy, there is a connection. However, there is something else we need to do here. Having developed an empathic bond, we can gently explain what works for us when we are in these situations and having these emotions.
This teaching took place at Gomde-UK, in August 2018.