It is not by taking refuge in a hermitage that a seeker will learn to recognize and establish within herself true compassion, but rather in her relationships with her fellows and in her contact with the existential world, however hard and pitiless it may be.
Human beings learn courage by confronting the dangers of the phenomenal world. They learn through the very difficulties existential life inflicts upon them. Ironically, this is because it is only in situations of insecurity, that push them to make the effort to survive, that their intelligence and intellect develop.
Constant consideration of the fragility of the other’s life must arouse in the aspirant not only a feeling of continual compassion, but also, and this is of crucial importance for her emancipation, the beginning of a spiritual awakening. /…/
Is it possible to love another without feeling compassion for her? Without being conscious of it, did one, at the beginning, “love” the other only because one had sexual needs to satisfy? Can one accept and love the person with whom one shares one’s life despite the differences in thought and temperament that must inevitably exist in her? All men and all women are incomplete, divided internally and victims of themselves and, without them realizing it, the thoughtless way they act towards others is only, deep down, the manifestation of the dissatisfaction and inner solitude that inhabit them.
Has one ever really looked at another from an inner silence, without expecting anything from him or her? And, even if one has lived one hundred years with a partner, is it ever possible to know that person? For that matter, is it ever possible to know another?
The Supreme Quest chap 16