Compassion is our ability to feel
the pain that we share with others.
Without realizing it we continually shield ourselves
from this pain because it scares us.
We put up protective walls
made of opinions, prejudices, and strategies,
barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt.
These walls are further fortified
by emotions of all kinds:
anger, craving, indifference, jealousy
and envy, arrogance and pride.
But fortunately for us, the soft spot—
our innate ability to love and to care about things—
is like a crack in these walls we erect.
It’s a natural opening in the barriers we create
when we’re afraid.
With practice we can learn to find this opening.
We can learn to seize that vulnerable moment—
love, gratitude, loneliness, embarrassment, inadequacy—
to awaken compassion.
(1936 to pres., Buddhist Teacher)