Compassion Quiz

I used to love those quizzes in the women's magazines when I was growing up. The ones that let you score points and then they tell you whether or not you're marriage material or a wallflower or whatever. Today's quiz will give you an idea of how compassionate you are.

Until I began to study yoga and Buddhism, I don't think I had ever used the word "compassion." I certainly didn't think about being compassionate myself. But compassion is fundamental to both yogic and Buddhist philosophy. Compassion is the feeling-state of Oneness. And compassion is also the pathway to Oneness. As long as we are all separate, wearing our blinders, in our own little bubbles or cubicles, suffering alone, there is no experience of Oneness. Once we get a glimpse or a taste of Oneness, our fundamental connectedness to all Beings, a vast ocean of compassion opens within our hearts.

Okay, if you have fallen asleep, wake up now and take the quiz!

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being almost none and 10 being as much as possible, rate the level of compassion you feel toward the person (or animal) in each of the following scenarios:

1) A litter of adorable puppies is crowded around the mother's belly, trying to nurse. The smallest puppy, the runt of the litter, is also the weakest. He is getting pushed away by the stronger puppies and cannot latch on to get nourishment and grow.

2) An old woman wearing a nightgown and slippers approaches you on the street. She is obviously lost and can't remember her name or where she lives.

3) A man carrying an armload of groceries cuts in front of you in line at the supermarket when you are not paying attention. He doesn't ask or offer any explanation.

4) A car full of teenaged boys cuts you off while you are driving and you are forced to slam on your brakes. Your car skids to a full stop in the middle of the road but you narrowly avoid crashing into them. The boys are laughing as they drive away.

5) Your spouse has trouble sleeping. In the middle of the night, you are awaken by the sound of pots and pans clanging, the television blaring, popcorn popping. The following morning, the kitchen is a disaster, counters are covered with dirty pots and bowls.

Tally up your scores. If you have 5 points or less, you are probably a serial killer. If you have 5-25 points, you are pretty average and probably will not end up incarcerated. If you scored anything close to 50 points, you are Mother Teresa.

In another post, I'll share some tips for developing compassion. Because like a muscle, compassion grows stronger the more you work it. Sometimes it is easier to feel compassion for a complete stranger than for our closest relatives. But this is just a matter of practice. And attention. Try noticing situations that arise today and whether or not you respond with compassion. If not, ask yourself why not. Perhaps you just need reminding.