Find Compassion for Others in Your Own Transgressions
by Gregg Krech
There is an element of human nature that is poised to judge others as soon as they fall short of our expectations or ideals. How could she do such a thing? How could he treat me like that? We look down from a pedestal of innocence or self-justification.
As we grow older, most of us hope that our hearts will soften, but often they are as hard as granite. They harden whenever we condemn people from a position of arrogance, superiority or self-righteousness.
The antidote to a hard heart requires courage and sincerity. It requires us to remember our own human weakness and faults. A sincere self-examination makes it possible to soften our hearts towards others because we become familiar with our own transgressions.
And when those transgressions rest in the center of our hearts, we can’t help but bring the light of understanding and compassion to others. We encounter the faults of others as fellow sinners. And we recognize that our ability to transcend our misdeeds is the result of grace – grace which includes the love, support and guidance of others.
Our minds have developed the capacity to justify ourselves, while we criticize others for the same acts. If we cut someone off in the next lane we excuse ourselves with the thought, “Oh, I didn’t see that car”. But when someone cuts us off, we react with, “Hey, you jerk. Watch where you’re going. You could kill someone.” Can you notice the tricks that your ego has mastered to make you look good and others look bad? Do you have the courage to bring compassion to the faults of others, as well as yourself?
Reprinted from Tunneling for Sunlight by Gregg Krech (2019)
Gregg Krech is the Director of the ToDo Institute and author of five books about Japanese Psychology, including Naikan and Question Your Life. Gregg will be conducting a 30-day online program called Gratitude, Grace & a Month of Self-Reflection, beginning on Nov. 14, 2022.