Generally, compassion is described as kindness. Kindness is relevant only when a person is in some kind of helpless state. Most human beings, when they are standing on their feet, wouldn't want kindness. They want acceptance, they want respect, they want to be loved; they don't want kindness. Compassion is an all-encompassing passion. When I say all-encompassing, passion is essentially an exclusive process. When two people are passionate, the world disappears. That is the beauty of passion, that it is exclusive, the world evaporates in your passion.
Compassion is an all-encompassing passion. That is, it has become an all-inclusive passion. Many, many-fold more than passion. Compassion is not a dry state of kindness, that you are standing above everybody and being kind to everyone, this is not it. This is an active engagement, it is passion. Whatever you set your eyes upon, you are passionate with. The air that you breathe, the earth that you walk upon, the food that you eat and the people that you see and don't see; whatever you are conscious of, you are absolutely passionate with that. That is compassion; it includes everything in its passion. So compassion is not that which is bereft of passion, it is a larger dimension of passion.
Questioner: How to reach this all-encompassing kind of passion? Is it some sort of quantum-leap? Is there is something that happens in the psyche that opens one up?
Sadhguru: It is definitely not an incremental increase of passion. It is not like today you are passionate with one person, tomorrow with two, day after tomorrow with ten to twenty-five... No. When you are in a psychological state, your thoughts and emotions are more important than your existential experience, you will know only passion at the most. Most people, unfortunately, do not know passion in its entirety. Passion is a wonderful thing. If your perception transcends your psychological space, and your life becomes very existential, you clearly understand in your experience —not an intellectual understanding —that what is here is just one mass of life and you are just one small pop-up. So when you understand that this is a mass of life, and you are just a little bubble in that, and you are thinking that you are an individual bubble, if that individuality dissolves in your experience and in your understanding and in your knowing, then compassion is a natural way to be. There is no other way to be because, in some way, you are experiencing everything as myself. It is not a value or an ethic that you develop.
As we are here in this room and as we breathe, what we exhale the trees are inhaling, what they exhale we are inhaling. Or in other words, one part of your breathing equipment is hanging out there on the trees. If this becomes an experiential process for you, I don't have to tell you, as you are walking, don't pluck this leaf and go. You would never do that, it is like someone plucking your hair as they walk by. It is not even a thought, it is not an intention, it is not an ethic, “I will not pluck trees.” “Thou shall not pluck leaves.” There is no such thing. It is just that, this is the way you will be. This is the nature of a human being. It is only in identifying with one’s thoughts, emotions and body that one loses this natural state of consciousness.