This “joining” approach is what begins the healing process — joining together the parts of ourselves into a coherent whole. And here’s the weird piece — We recognize, as all good Zen practitioners know, that not only are we whole, but that the only place we exist is in the here and now. We also know that, in a very real sense, each of us is the totality of the universe itself.
Now, compassion is yet another misunderstood word. Compassion is sometimes equated with “feeling sorry for,” and is often used as a bludgeon — “If you had an ounce of compassion, you’d look after me and do what I want.”
And yet, in the Zen world, the compassionate act could be a kick in the ass. It’s often abrupt, and direct, and challenging.
We do not normally think about the interrelatedness of the stages of our development, because we actually do not remember much of it. Most of us only have fleeting memories of ourselves prior to age 6 or so. What is going on, however, is that parents and tribes are giving the child an ‘ego‐self.’ This is done by tribal blessing of socially approved of behaviours, while condemning behaviours the tribes frown upon.