Whatever the question…

Richard ArthurAdvice

This is the latest article from Neil on love and compassion. If you want your life and relationships to instantly transform, read on below: 

I get questions every day.

So many struggles, so many challenges, so much confusion, so much soul-searching.

With words that one of my mentors once shared with me:

Whatever the question, the right answer is love and compassion.

(Similar quotes have also been attributed to the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, but this is how I first heard it.)

I remember she first said this when I was going to leave a group I belonged to.

I felt like the group, the members, and the leader were toxic. And when I left, I wanted to tell them all what I thought. I wanted to be right.

Instead, she said to fill my heart with love for them, to empathize with what they were struggling with.

I understood what she meant, because I knew: Everyone is dealing with unresolved trauma. But not everyone has the capacity to recognize it for what it is.

So that day, when I went to leave the group, instead of giving them a piece of my mind and telling them everything that was wrong with them and trying to be understood, I just sat there and let love and compassion flow through me.

I saw who they were, what they were struggling with, and why just because it wasn’t a good fit doesn’t mean it was toxic.

In that moment, I understood the Anthony De Mello quote: “What does it mean to live? It means to see a person, a thing, a situation as it really is and not as you imagine it to be, and to give it the response it deserves.”

Instead of becoming the biggest asshole in the room, I managed to let go, to connect, to love, and to keep some great relationships.

And I felt good about my actions afterward. If I’d gone ahead with my plan, I would have probably stayed awake all night, replaying what happened and thinking about how I could have spoken better, been understood, been validated.

Instead, love and compassion was not just the answer, it was the only answer. Nothing needs to be second-guessed when you’re responding with love and compassion. 

This does not mean that you have to or should accept behavior that’s toxic, abusive, or emotionally harmful. By all means, get away from anyone like that and don’t look back. That is giving those acts the response they deserve.

Because sometimes that love and compassion needs to be given to ourselves.

So when you’re stuck for an answer, when you’re in need of healing, when you’re about to have a difficult conversation, remember there’s one answer you can never go wrong with.

Try it. Make it a practice. Until it becomes your way of being. Watch your life and relationships instantly transform.