“I’m helped by a gentle notion from Buddhist psychology, that there are “near enemies” to every great virtue—reactions that come from a place of care in us, and which feel right and good, but which subtly take us down an ineffectual path.
Sorrow is a near enemy to compassion and to love. It is borne of sensitivity and feels like empathy. But it can paralyze and turn us back inside with a sense that we can’t possibly make a difference.
The wise Buddhist anthropologist and teacher Roshi Joan Halifax calls this a “pathological empathy” of our age. In the face of magnitudes of pain in the world that come to us in pictures immediate and raw, many of us care too much and see no evident place for our care to go. But compassion goes about finding the work that can be done. Love can’t help but stay present” ~ Krista Tippett