Choosing Compassion

Compassion is not required of us, but it certainly does help.

We do not have to be kind, understanding, generous, gracious, or forgiving.

There are plenty of other options available to us in every moment.

In fact, many people get quite far in this life by being the opposite of these things.

We must make the choice to be compassionate on our own, often with no promise of immediate reward or benefit.

No one can force, manipulate, or even talk us into compassion, at least not in any sort of meaningful, lasting, or transformative way.

Quite often, compassion must be chosen for its own sake and as its own reward.

This can make it a very difficult choice to make.

There are many far easier things to be in this life than compassionate.

And yet, there are very few things more worthwhile, rewarding, or life changing than compassion.

Compassion is not required of us, but the world is a much better place if we chose it.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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