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Posted By Opening the Heart

 Deteriorating Compassion Disorder (DCD): A soul condition leaving one feeling disconnected from others, spiritually alone and emotionally empty. Symptoms often include irritability; anger; procrastination; not laughing very much; eating Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Macadamian Nut ice cream in large quantities (which, actually, many times, increases symptoms)......jb

So, several years ago in my clinical practice, I saw two different women for a first time visit, separated by about a month. What was striking about these two women was that they told me the same story about each having been in a car accident where neither was at fault, but another driver had run a stop light and crashed into the two women's cars. What I found so intriguing was their polar opposite responses to the same script. The first woman was still quite angry: "What a jerk! This was the last thing I needed. I hate buying a new car..." The second woman told me that after the accident, she had an awareness of how short and precious life is: "No one got really hurt. I have insurance...." I realized that at a deep level of truth, this was, perhaps, not two women but one woman at two different ends of the 'compassion continuum'.... I've been at both of those different ends.

 The past three days the T.D.'s (Technology Demons) have laid seige. On Sunday Night, we came home to find sewage backed up in our basement sink. On Monday our internet and cable t.v. had a sit-down protest. On Tuesday, my home copier/fax machine had a tantrum and died. Deteriorating Compassion Disorder was settling in for a stay.

Last night, my friend David and I went out for dinner and a bad movie.  We go on a Wednesday night when it' s half price night and we can take advantage of our new status as 'elder Americans'. My agreement with David is that we see really bad movies, ones that our wives would never see, then we critique them. Last night was "Predators": "So I thought Adrian Brody was better in his role in "The Pianist"; or "I thought the cinematography reminded me of "Umbreallas of Cherbourg"; or "This was the worst 'worst movie' we've seen- it was even an hour and a half too long!"

With a connection with my friend, DCD was lifting. We laughed and enjoyed friendship together.... And it occurred to me, again, that it was the same me- at two different ends of the Compassion Continuum.

I've seen this transformation many times during an Opening the Heart weekend. It's not unusual to see participants at the Opening Circle on Friday night experiencing some DCD symptoms. When I speak into that circle I sometimes say that when we look into another's eyes and see 'difference', we experience fear and separation. By Sunday, I see many people looking into each others eyes, seeing 'no difference' and experiencing compassion and connection. And so, for a moment the Deteriorating Compassion Disorder is gone and we see with Beginners Eyes, and the reason that 'moment' is so important is that we can remember our Greatness.

With Love and Respect, Jon

1 Comment(s):
Peter said...
I want to congratulate Jon in a huge way! As a self confessed Luddite he was one of the last people I know to own an IPod or use a Cell Phone. Sitting down to operate a computer is one of the most difficult challenges that he faces. This post to the OTH Blog is the first that he has added on his own (- all his previous posts have been first sent to me in simple "Word" format). With determination,love, and a lot of deep breathing - he has faced and conquered another demon, prooving by example that 'elder Americans' can overcome challenges with grace and self compassion. Yay Jon!!!
August 27, 2010 07:17:45
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