Compassion is sympathetic care and concern for the welfare of others, and especially for the suffering of others. Compassion goes beyond empathy or sympathy, to wanting to relieve the suffering of another. All are united by the root word “pathos” or “passion.” The literal meaning of compassion is “to suffer together” or “to feel together.” We can also feel (or fail to feel) self-compassion.

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Humanity is not without answers or solutions regarding how to liberate itself from scenarios that invariably end with mass exterminations. Tools such as compassion, trust, empathy, love, and ethical discernment are already in our possession. The next sensible step would be to use them.

— Aberjhani

Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory.

— Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams

Simple shifts in points of view can open doors to expansions of consciousness as easily as rigid dispositions can close hearts and minds to such elevated awareness. It generally depends on whether you allow fear and violence to rule your actions or whether you give wisdom, courage, and compassion the authority to do so.

— Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

When religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion — its message becomes
meaningless.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.

— Albert Camus, The Plague

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

— Albert Einstein

What does Reverence for Life say abut the relations between [humanity] and the animal world? Whenever I injury any kind of life I must be quite certain that it is necessary. I must never go beyond the unavoidable, not even in apparently insignificant things. The farmer who has mowed down a thousand flowers in his meadow in order to feed his cows must be careful on his way home not to strike the head off a single flower by the side of the road in idle amusement, for he thereby infringes on the law of life without being under the pressure of necessity.

— Albert Schweitzer

Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.

— Albert Schweitzer

Ethics cannot be based upon our obligations toward [people], but they are complete and natural only when we feel this Reverence for Life and the desire to have compassion for and to help all creatures insofar as it is in our power. I think that this ethic will become more and more recognized because of its great naturalness and because it is the foundation of a true humanism toward which we must strive if our culture is to become truly ethical.

— Albert Schweitzer

Teach me to feel another’s woe,
to hide the fault I see,
that mercy I to others show,
that mercy show to me.

— Alexander Pope

In faith and hope the world will disagree,
but all mankind’s concern is charity.

— Alexander Pope

Good manners are the technique of expressing considerations for the feelings of others.

— Alice Miller

As I get older, I realize that the thing I value the most is good-heartedness.

— Alice Walker

When the Sun of compassion arises darkness evaporates and the singing birds come from nowhere.

— Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power

In every crisis, doubt or confusion, take the higher path — the path of compassion, courage, understanding and love.

— Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.

— Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

Compassion is the basis of morality.

— Arthur Schopenhauer

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice.

— Baruch Spinoza

Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.

— Bertrand Russell, adapted

Compassion is more important than intellect in calling forth the love that the work of peace needs, and intuition can often be a far more powerful searchlight than cold reason.

— Betty Williams

One love, one heart, one destiny.

— Bob Marley

No one reaches out to you for compassion or empathy so you can teach them how to behave better. They reach out to us because they believe in our capacity to know our darkness well enough to sit in the dark with them.

— Bren√© Brown

We must throw out the old, fear-based thought-forms and evolve, and begin to live as higher beings of compassion.

— Bryant McGill

The authentic human has the might of compassion and the creative power to do any manner of good.

— Bryant McGill

Leave oneself an open door, a free unconscious channel, for the deep rushing flood of life to pour through. To tell and tell forever humanity’s greatest secret — that each one is all the rest, and each one can do the world’s work. A calmness born of the immeasurable power that moves us. A rich Peace, seeing that life is good. A joy, deepening daily as we understand. And love — the love that all things live in — To feel it and give it. To give it. Give it. Give it everywhere.

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused.

— Chogyam Trungpa

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

— Coretta Scott King

A commonplace of political rhetoric has it that the quality of a civilization may be measured by how it cares for its elderly. Just as surely, the future of a society may be forecast by how it cares for its young.

— Daniel Patrick Moynihan

But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.

— David Foster Wallace
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