Pity is another way we keep suffering at arm’s length. We may let in a little of someone’s pain, but never enough to threaten our own self-control. We may feel a little moved to respond to the suffering—we’d feel guilty or uncomfortable if we didn’t—but we’d like to get it all over with as soon as possible and get on with our own affairs. Compassion and pity are very different. Whereas compassion reflects the yearning of the heart to merge and take on some of the suffering, pity is a controlled set of thoughts designed to assure separateness. Compassion is the spontaneous response of love; pity, the involuntary reflex of fear.

Ram Dass & Paul Gorman in How Can I Help?

(via sharanam)

(via parkstepp)

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