Your Beliefs and Values: Compassion is a Verb

Here is my submission for the Spread The Love Now group writing project put on by the three monks – Wade, Kenton and Albert.

The Three Monks – Wade of The Middle Way, Kenton of Zen-Inspired Self Development, and Albert of Urban Monk.Net have put forth a challenge: The Spread The Love Now group writing project.


The purpose of the project is provide a lively discussion about compassion.

Here’s my submission:

I love the saying that love is a verb. I believe it’s true, first of all, and I think there’s something very powerful about a phrase that almost everyone seems to recognize or remember hearing. I guess what’s powerful is that while most people recognize it, I’ve never heard where it came from. If anyone ever knew, they don’t seem to be saying.

Lately I’ve been thinking about compassion, and I wondered if it could be a verb. It turns out there used to be a verb, compassionate, pronounced compassionATE, with the emphasis on the last syllable. But now compassionate is an adjective, and compassion is the term we’re most familiar with.

So I looked it up on Here’s what I found.

“(A) feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” That, again, is from

Do you see it? Do you see how compassion is a verb? I didn’t catch it at first. I had to read the definition several times before it finally just leaped out at me. “Accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Of course, if you just have the desire, it’s not a verb. You make it a verb when you act on that desire to alleviate suffering.


What I hope we get from this definition and the existence, long ago, of the verb compassionate, is that you can’t be compassionate (the adjective) just by sitting in your chair feeling sympathy. To truly have compassion, I believe you need to feel stirred enough to do something, anything, to help.

And I believe compassion is one of the cornerstones of personal growth. It starts with compassion for ourselves and the desire to change our lives. For me, it began when I realized that I was pushing myself straight over the cliff, so to speak, working one hundred hours a week at a job I hated, hundreds of miles from my family. I acted on that realization by quitting the job and creating a life I love.

I think when we show compassion, for ourselves and for others in need of our sympathy and then our actions, we make the entire world better. I truly believe in the butterfly effect. I honestly think that everything I do helps everyone else, in some cosmic way. I can’t really define how that works, but that doesn’t keep it from being true.

So when we compassionATE, we are not only making a difference in someone else’s life. We are making a difference in our own, and we are making a difference in the world. Every act of compassion makes that much more difference that will contribute to more compassion, which makes more difference…it all works in a circle. And isn’t that cool?

How can you turn compassion into a verb in your life?

  • Think about the compassion you show. Where do you concentrate it?
  • Where do you feel you fall short in showing compassion?
  • Try to take an opportunity today to show compassion.

Update: The Spread the Love Project is Growing! Here are the entries to date:

Ben Lumley at The New Horizons Project.
Kris Vockler at Beyond Zen.
Corinne Edwards at Personal Growth with Corinne Edwards.
Isabella Mori at Change Therapy.
Paula Kawal at Journey Inward Coaching.
Liara Covert at Dream Builders.
David Bohl at Slow Down Fast.
Deb Estep at Deb_Inside.
Swami Nirmalananda Giri and ReddyK at the Atma Jyoti Blog.
Mary Jaksch at Goodlife Zen.
Takuin Minamoto at Daily Action and Natural Expression.
Robin at Reflections on Compassion, posted at Yogini Myspace Blog.
Karen Zara at Abaminds.
Jenny Mannion at Heal Pain Naturally.
Evan Hadkins at WellBeingAndHealth.Net.
Shawn Williamson at do you LIVE or simply EXIST.
Patricia Singleton at Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker.
Alex Blackwell at The Next 45 Years.
Akemi Gaines at Gratitude Magic.
Vitor Bosshard at The Fractal Forest.
CG Walters at Into The Mist.
John Torcello has also contributed an entry by email, I’ve included it in the comments below.
Brightdays at Brighter Days for you and me!
Karen at Loving Awareness.
Krista at Lucid Amphibology.
Karen Lynch at Live The Power.
Andrea Hess at Empowered Soul.
Waters at Waters: The Last Thing I Wanted To Give.
Eric Grey at Deepest Health.
Stephen Hopson at Adversity University.
Em Dy at Pulse: Intention to Treat.
Iain Hamp at Follow Your Passions.
Rahul at Raw Speak.
Stephen Miracle at AltNoise.Net.
Pearl at Interesting Observations.
Mark at My Tropical Escape.
Matthew at Loving Awareness.
Daylle Schwartz at Lessons from a Recovering Doormat.
Charities Link at Charities Link.
Mihaela Lica at Pamil Visions eWritings.
David at Virginia Breeze.
Jerry Summers at Nothing Like Now.
Wishbone at Wishbone.
Arvind Devalia at Make Things Happen.
Samir Bharadwaj at Samir Bharadwaj dot com.

And to Zarang: Inspiring for compiling the final list.

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added another chapter to my life by joining C.A.S.T. Recovery, a Los Angeles based national outpatient drug rehab program which specializes in designing highly individualized recovery plans with appropriate professionals to support a client’s health, accountability, and success.

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