Tuesday, October 7, 2014
"Compassion directed towards oneself is true humility."
I found this quote from Simone Weil in a circuitous way. Last Friday I attended a very well-thought out lecture by the novelist Ron Hansen at Notre Dame. The lecture was entitled "Seeing into the Middle of Things: On Being a Catholic Writer. " Hansen quoted Weil to say that attention taken to its highest degree is prayer. I found that a strange saying and wanted to try to understand it.
So, of course, I googled it and found a similar quote: "Absolute unmixed attention is prayer." I don't have a feel for what that means either but another quote popped out at me and is worth my thinking about.
"Compassion directed towards oneself is true humility." I wish I knew where in Weil's writings this comes from. I have started Weil's "Waiting for God" and put it down. Maybe if I try it again, I will find it.
In any case, I need compassion directed towards myself. Sunday night was a night of insomnia. Why? Sometimes I know why; sometimes I really didn't. I was sad about Jim's mother's condition when we saw her on Saturday. I was concerned about the doctors' visits for Jim on Monday. But mostly, I was upset with myself for my inability to just fall asleep. There is no way to say it doesn't matter because a sleepless night causes a difficult day. But trying to fall asleep does no good at all!
I know I need to accept this problem and be understanding and compassionate towards myself. I can't always have the energy to travel and plan and scheme and go here and there. I am humbled by my need for a quiet day after a needy night.