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At a party a hint of another conversation distracts me from my light banter with a friend. The voice of a woman drifts by and I hear; "Compassion is just something that you use to get what you want from another person. I don't do compassion anymore." The sneering tone of the comment is almost as distracting as the words themselves. The speaker seems to be saying "I just take what I want from whoever I want now…."
I spend the rest of the evening thinking about the ways that I have come to view compassion, what it has come to mean to me, and what things I have changed in my life to make a space for compassion. I still can't define it, I would liked to have been able explain my view of compassion to the woman at the party. I tried to think of how to start a compassionate conversation, to make sure that I understood what she was really trying to convey, but all that came to my mind was to hold out my hand, and say; "Here, grab my wrist...". Not something that would be acceptable for guest behavior even if the party is here in California.
Before starting Aikido my concept of compassion was something closely resembling grace, but harder by far to define or express. To act out compassion on a daily basis, was getting harder and harder. Now, a short two years later, I know throughout my being what compassion is, I have felt it physically almost daily in my training, heard it in the teachings of my Sensei, and experienced it in the way that I view t