At the end of Legend of Korra, Korra talks about how she had to suffer greatly in order to grow more compassionate. I read the Sigalovada Sutta recently and saw much of my past history in it.
“10. “These are the six dangers inherent in habitual partying: You constantly seek, ‘Where’s the dancing? Where’s the singing? Where’s the music? Where are the stories? Where’s the applause? Where’s the drumming?'”
When I was in college, after I started using drugs, I had this constant seeking. Where’re the drugs? The fun? The drumming? It was a suffering, there was never enough party and I spent all my time craving after a situation that would never come to exist. I was never really with my friends, I was rather looking how I could make whatever we were doing more, more fun, with more music and more stories and more, whatevers. I was suffering a lot. In my suffering, I put suffering onto those around me.
Recently I came into contact with someone I had hurt by giving them drugs. They had a panic attack, psychotic symptoms and a major life breakdown. I gave them LSD, took them to a giant festival and abandoned them while they smoked weed all day. I didn’t provide any safety or security. They’ve held that anger against me for four years, justifiably so. I apologized and we’ve reconciled to the extent that is possible. It’s that kind of recklessness that hurts others, intentional or not. When you’re in the shit yourself, rarely are you able to comprehend how your behavior hurts others and how it hurts yourself.
“19. “The reckless companion can be identified by four things: by accompanying you in drinking, roaming around at night, partying, and gambling.””
I was reckless with those I was with, roaming, drinking, partying and so on. Gambling my life and mind for the sake of temporary and ultimately detrimental pleasures. That recklessness and habitual partying led me into hospitals, car crashes, lost friends, damage to others, scars and more. There’s a lot of suffering when you sit alone in a bedroom, crying and cutting.
Looking back on that from where I am now, I do think all that has helped me to become more compassionate. When I see others using drugs I don’t feel anger, I feel pity, empathy for their suffering. In my current job working as a counselor, when the kids yell at me or attack me or whatever else, it’s easier to let go of because for a lot of it, I’ve been there.