We proceed from the assumption that people are, at all stages of their development, both OK, and complete. This is what we mean by acceptance, or better, self-acceptance. That this is not the normal belief is obvious–we are trained from birth to judge ourselves as lacking–and also ‘wrong, bad, and/or evil.’
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.
Most people sense a lack in their lives — as if something important is missing. Mostly, it seems to be about power and anger and force and it seems a bit (or a lot) black. It seems that way because, since you were a kid, people have been stuffing you with fears, prejudices, and airy-fairy ideas that being a good little boy or girl is the only acceptable state.