To Relieve the Suffering of Others

by Michael Corthell

We all have the ability relieve the suffering of others, that is to heal them. The first step in that healing process is to heal and love ourselves. And how to do that? It's a trick! You heal yourself by getting outside yourself to help others to heal. You practice compassion.

''Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.''

There are many ways to ease the suffering of others, from being a surgeon to bandaging the cut on a child's finger. Or from being a psychiatrist to a friend who talks to a friend over coffee. Whatever skills and talents we are born with can be used to help ease the suffering of others.

''I choose kindness… I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.''
Max Lucado

How to be more compassionate and use our talents to ease the suffering of others? First you love yourself. If you do that you will then have the will to help others, it will be automatic. Some will read this and say, ''Why should I help anyone, no one helps me?'' First of all that is very hard to believe. There no one who is a true island. Second of all, learning to helping others, to love and nurture them, is the reason we are all here, born at all.

If you have ever asked these most important questions, ''Why was I born and why am I here.'' You don't have to look any further than that last statement. It is the answer.

''I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death!'' 
Anne Frank died at age 15, in the Nazi
concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

The beautiful spirit of Anne Frank has lived on and lit a path that has, and is showing the way to being and doing what is right and good.

She had aspired to become a journalist, writing in her diary on Wednesday, April 05, 1944:
''I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write ..., but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent ...
And if I don't have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can't imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! ...
I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that's why I'm so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that's inside me!
When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?''
— Anne Frank
She continued writing regularly until her last entry dated August 01, 1944.

Throughout our history there are many more examples (to humanity's credit) of men and woman like Anne who have that very same divine spark and have used it to relieve the suffering of others. It is the same 'spark' that lit the Universe.

What is it?

It is love, and love is all there is.

''A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.''
—Jesus, (God incarnate)


A Guide to Practical Compassion
by Joan Halifax

Known for her compassionate work with the terminally ill, Joan Halifax is a driving force of socially engaged Buddhism.

Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.