"The Compass of Compassion" by John Phillip Newell


"Notice the similarity between the word compass and the word compassion. They share an etymological root. The earliest use of the word compass does not, of course, refer to the modern hiking compass as we know it. The word is first used to refer to the mathematical compass, that simple two-pronged device that many of us remember using in grade school to measure the distance between two points and to draw arcs and circles. A compass, then, is used to determine the relationship between two points. The related word compassion is about honoring the relationship between two people or between one group and another, and remembering those who suffer. It is about making the connection between the heart of my being and the heart of yours, and following that connection . . . even when we are filled with doubts as to whether we are moving in the right direction."

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