Chapter 1-3: Compassion

What is Compassion?

  • Awareness and recognition of suffering
  • Feelings of concern for and connection to the one who is suffering
  • Desire to relieve that suffering
  • A willingness and readiness to take action

Parry's Primrose

A sentence from Gabor Mate’s book, In the Realms of Hungry Ghosts made me stop and pause. He wrote of a twenty-seven-year-old heroin addict who described the  first time she did heroin as “it felt like a warm, soft hug.

 I read those words and was transported back to my childhood, to being four years old and wrapped in a huge towel after stepping out of the bathtub sitting on my mother’s lap as she hugged me and dried me and loved me.  The wellbeing that I can still recall is in part due to chemicals in my brains called endorphins, our natural opiates, something this young woman in Vancouver, never experienced. She had been abandoned as an infant and suffered physical and verbal abuse as a small child before running away at fourteen to the streets of Vancouver. Her first hit of heroin opened a floodgate to her soothing and contentment system that had never been nurtured. She felt a sense of love for the first time in her life and was hooked forever on that feeling. The stories of so many addicts are stories of unbearable heartache.