Civility with Compassion – Part One
Buddhist Dharma delineates four forms of compassion – (1) peaceful or pacifying, (2) enriching or educational, (3) magnetizing or charismatic, and (4) fierce or wrathful compassion.
Being in the state of “Hunkertown,” one would prefer to employ numbers 1 or 2 as the preferred modes to civilly communicate and accomplish what needs to get done. Thus it is these first two that I shall focus on in this blog.
Pacifying or PeacefulCompassion – In this situation, there is harmonious, empathic resonance amongst all proponents of a given direction/action. Conversations and actions feel like everyone is on the same page, or at least able to work with each other with the minimal of friction. The image is one of a team and regardless of the part you play on that team, everyone is valued equally for their contribution. This is “the ideal” and often people want to project that this is actually the case. The language and actions taken are done all so pleasantly, thus the ideal of what it means to be civil. But, such civility is very conditional, perhaps fragile. Thus, there can be undermining shock or dismay when it is discovered that somewhere down the line, unexpected or unanticipated subconscious agendas begin to surface. The larger picture or issue may seem to be seen by all as if in agreement. But, we must remember that “the devil is in the details,” always. Because of the seeming simpatico, people become lazy and don’t necessarily really engage the first three wisdoms thoroughly. This actually makes this form of compassion the hardest to practice skillfully because discernment seems unnecessary. Hence, the REACTIVE PATTERN to safeguard against: Smugness (in-crowding). This reactive pattern is especially prevalent in organizations that feel they have a calling or mission – such as religious, political, or humanitarian enterprises. The tone of civility here is that of the Peacekeeper and Peace supporter.
Enrichment Compassion – To get to a state of harmony in action, there needs to be further education. Thus, civility here is instructional, needing more reasoning, explanation, and a sense of empowering others – enriching them at various levels in order for them to get on board or be in alignment with what you want to achieve or express. The role teacher, mentor, or “a reliable source” is the civil tone you need to express and direct action from. The tone of civility here is that of the Educator or Mentor. The challenge and the REACTIVE PATTERN to safeguard against: Condescension. A useful phrase when this form of compassion is warranted: “Have you considered…?”
If you would like more information on what is laid out in this blog, watch the following podcast…