With self-care established, set your sights on the next stage of universal compassion. Learn greater interpersonal effectiveness to help you transform social stress into spiritual advantage and reorient your life towards radical altruism.
This is where radical altruism comes in: recognizing our inescapable interconnectivity we choose to upgrade our aspiration from middling to great, to develop a new, specific skill set grounded in renunciation but combined with wisdom and compassion, thus returning to the ordinary world, to everyday life, and to relationships to effectively wake others up and transform the interconnected web of life. We vow to return home with the medicine or elixir, as Joseph Campbell might say. Bodhisattvas, altruistic heroes—the new, prosocial virtuoso archetype of the Universal Vehicle—understand nondualism and aspire to awaken the world. Bodhisattvas are thus motivated by great compassion that is inseparable from the nondual realization of interconnectivity.
From Gradual Awakening, Chapter 5, Compassion.
Essential to understanding this critical transition from renunciation to altruism is the recognition that the goal of liberation (nirvana) isn’t elsewhere; it’s not a destination set apart from the world of suffering (samsara). If we were to reach enlightenment right now, we would realize that we are still completely embedded with all of life. It’s the wisdom of no escape: we can get untangled from our karmic web, but we cannot extract ourselves from the larger matrix of interdependence with others, so seeing that freedom is possible doesn’t free us from our interconnectivity; it only frees us from our compulsions. Liberation is thus reconceived as the release of what Bob Thurman calls the “heart-clamp,” freeing our natural sensitivity from self-armoring and allowing the natural flow of care to connect us with others….