Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living

Not our fault

It was not our choice that we were born in this existence. We did not choose for the family and culture we were raised in. None of us chose the design of our complex and vulnerable bodies and brains, neither our genetic inheritance and the results of millions of years of evolution, nor the many conditioning factors from the past and the present that shape our experience in complex, uncontrollable and unpredictable ways. Besides we have only very limited control over the course of our relationships with others, who are just as complex creatures as we are ourselves.

Much of what is happening to us, including the pain and suffering that is simply part of life, is not our fault. Our automatic reactions to this primary suffering can unintentionally create much secondary suffering, through the way our imperfect brains and organisms have evolved and react to what happens. This is not our fault either. As soon as we become aware however that there are wholesome and harmful reactions and wake up to the possibility of choice in how we respond, it does become our responsibility.

Compassion starts with acknowledging this unavoidable pain and suffering in our existence and with taking our responsibility in how we deal with it.

Perhaps everything that frightens us,
is in its deepest essence,
something helpless that needs our help.

- Rainer Maria Rilke -