Compassionate Understanding

Compassion is the decision to understand even if we do not agree.

Sometimes, in fact, compassion is needed most when we disagree most.

We do not have to approve of a person’s beliefs, words, or actions in order to feel for them.

Compassion does not require our consent.

It requires our understanding.

Care, concern, and even pity are all manifestations of compassion.

We can have compassion from afar.

We can be compassionately disengaged.

Compassion does not require our intervention or our involvement.

It does not require us to solve some perceived problem.

Compassion is simply the ability to see, hear, and even feel where others are coming from so that, even if for a brief moment, we open ourselves up to understand, without judgement or criticism, why they are who they are.

Compassion gives us the power to be other, to separate ourselves from who we are not in others, and to be stronger in who we are and who we want to be.


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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