By Atit Marmer
My entire life has been committed to learning and understanding the giving and receiving of compassion. My first memory of an event involving this spiritual path goes way back to the sixth grade when our class visited a student art show presented by a school situated in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I grew up.
I felt the pain and resilience of the students, many of whom were my age, and I instinctively reached out to a number of them, talking and laughing with them, sharing in their joy at the display of their talents. Little did I know then that my calling in life as a therapist was to stand in the gap with all who have been in my resonance; the gap between the chaotic experiences of life and the joy of discovering our true nature. Nothing I could have articulated then, but something I intuitively knew.
As I’ve grown through my dharma path the most important realization opened up to me is that compassion is a two-way stream. As I offer this delicious fruit of love I likewise receive it and as I receive it I can’t help but give my compassion in return. It’s really as natural and instinctive as breathing. I believe love and compassion are not just verbs and nouns but more essentially are the descriptors of my being. In other words by my very nature I am love and compassion. It’s only when I stand in my own way that this does not take place.