From the service on April 29, 2012


FromJean Shinoda Bolen's The Goddesses in Older Women


Kuan Yin is the Asian goddess of compassion—she-who-harkens-to-the-cries-of-the-world. It’s the ability to listen empathetically, accepting the person and his or her feelings without becoming judgmental or defensive. It’s an ability to hear and bear another’s pain, anger and suffering, which can help to relieve it. It is a responsive act that involves feeling and doing even if no physical action can be observed. It is the kind of response that heals…

To listen as well as to tell involves risk. It is difficult to listen with compassion, to bear witness without becoming personally affected by the story. When we listen empathetically, we take what we hear into our imagination, heart, body and soul. When what we hear from another is beyond our own experience and even our comprehension, the task and opportunity is to become “bigger” and to be able to hold what we are hearing and feeling.”

Compassion allows us to do this.