Passion – Not the Same as Compassion
by Kathy Custren
Passion and passionate energies bring a lot of our heart to whatever is done. By passion, we recognize that when we really love to do something—whether it is our vocation or a hobby—we bring our whole heart into it. Many people find, however, that passion is not the same as compassion.
Compassion is what we do with our heart energy, where we freely give for the greater good. One personal example is my own simple effort of writing. Not in it for the fame and fortune it might offer in the general marketplace, finding a number of places where my skills are welcome amazes me. With writing, I am not only able to provide for my family, but also extend a generosity or compassionate heart to foster a young child in another country. --And I recognize that the two words are not at all the same.
Many of us find we can be quite passionate about things. Passion is about love, and we love love. However, compassion is as much about tempering that passion somewhat...finding alignment and balance in the two. Does what you are passionate about also bring compassion to the world?
There are various labels we give to people whose vocations often come with a good dose of passion. Nurses and doctors, for example, probably would not do what they do, day in and day out, taking care of healing the sick if their whole heart was not in it. If they came to their job and did it with half a heart, not caring or feeling for the welfare of their patients, healing would be incomplete. That is something to think about, for sure.
The folks who collect our trash? We could call them just as passionate about their work, especially if they are courteous about it. Perhaps you have seen a street after the trash truck goes by and could tell whether someone's heart was not quite into doing their job that day? Compassionate and courteous trash workers leave the bins neatly, and pick up any errant refuse from the street instead of adding to the litter problem. A little compassion goes a long way and makes a big difference!
Teachers, lawyers...are they in it for the money, or to enlighten minds or find justice? Is the local baker or chef in the kitchen to feed the soul good and nourishing food, or just to pass a plate and make a buck? Preachers, truck drivers, store clerks—you name it. We may be very passionate about our vocation, but do we bring compassion into the picture?
Ask anyone working and sure, there will be the usual, “wish I made more” complaints heard, but aside from us all 'loving what we do,' we need to take time and weigh the blessings we bestow because of the precious time spent on that work. Passion is not the same as compassion, not even close. Passion may be something we do, and we may be passionate about many things on any given day. Compassion, though, can be harder for us to pull off.
On the way to our fantastic job, do we consider the person sleeping in the street? While we are earning our daily bread, do we consider those who cannot work or are out of work because of the economy? As we are buying our groceries or paying the restaurant tab, we can question whether we have contributed to the local food bank.
As we pray for our friends and neighbors who are going through very difficult illnesses or tough times, do our prayers extend around the world to those people we do not see, whose lives are just as chaotic, troubled, and who long for an end to suffering? While we hold our own children with a passionate embrace, are we compassionate enough to consider or offer some measure of support to the parents who have lost their children through disease, kidnapping, or suicide?
The need for compassion is a never-ending expectation, when we think about it. No matter who we are, where we are, or when we are, the need for compassion exists. If not right where you are, then compassion is needed somewhere, at some time. So, while we are asked as very young children what we want to do when we grow up, it is a sincere hope that we are able to find balance between the two.
May our passion and love for whatever we do become equivalent to the compassion we share—for the greater good.
Kathy Custren, OMTimes Senior Editor, is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include education, elements, nature, humanity's cosmic origins, philosophy, spirituality, and wellness. Connect with her community page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook.