Journey to Compassion: Part 1 (Olivia Fox Cabane's Technique)

Let me ask you a few questions. When was the last time you read the epilogue of IIH? Are you able to summarize in your own words the advice Bardon gives to students in the epilogue of IIH? If you had to, could you recall from memory the last two sentences of the second paragraph of the epilogue of IIH?

Regarding that last question, don't worry if you can't in fact recall from memory the last two sentences of the second paragraph of the epilogue. Here they are below.

All men seeking this path to, and union with, God should always remember the words of Jesus Christ, the great master of the mystics who said "Love thy neighbor as thyself." This sentence ought to be a sacred command to any seeker of illumination on this spiritual path. 

There you have it, folks. In those two sentences, Bardon explicitly highlights the immense importance of compassion when it comes to walking the magical path. In all of my writings, I have always asserted that without compassion, a student has no hope of making serious progress along the magical path. In the past, some people have tried to argue with me without realizing that by doing so, they are actually arguing with Bardon himself. If you don't believe me, I encourage you to read the epilogue of IIH and pay close attention to what he writes.

Unfortunately, these days it seems like most Bardonists are interested in everything but compassion. Within the Bardon community, you often find lively discussions about the four elements, evocation, pranayama, nature spirits, and meditation, but you rarely find serious discussions about how to cultivate compassion. That's why I'm starting the "Journey to Compassion" series of posts on this blog. In each installment of this series, I will either teach a technique for cultivating compassion or share some stories from my own struggle to cultivate compassion.

In this first installment, I'd like to share a technique for being compassionate developed by Olivia Fox Cabane and described in her book The Charisma Myth. In that book, she writes the following.

It's often said that everyone you meet has stories to tell, and that everyone has a few that would break your heart.

Olivia's technique is simple. All it involves is keeping in mind what's in that quote. When you're driving and someone cuts you off, keep in mind that the driver who cut you off has a few stories to tell that would break your heart. When your boss is yelling at you for some stupid reason, keep in mind that your boss has a few stories to tell that would break your heart. When a coworker treats you rudely, keep in mind that the coworker has a few stories to tell that would break your heart. Maybe the driver is a woman who once had a miscarriage. Maybe your boss's younger brother was killed in a skydiving accident. Maybe your coworker grew up with physically abusive parents. It's all possible. Again, as Olivia says, everyone has at least a few stories that would break your heart. I know I do. I'm sure you do as well. If you can keep this in mind, then you'll be able to feel compassion for the driver/boss/coworker instead of anger.

By the way, if you're wondering why Olivia would include a technique for becoming compassionate in a book about becoming charismatic, it's because compassion is an ingredient in charisma. How many charismatic people do you know who are mean assholes? If you're compassionate, people will like you more. Therefore, developing compassion won't just help you with the magical side of your life, it will also help you with the mundane side of your life as well. Life is harder if everyone dislikes you because you're mean instead of compassionate.


  1. An essential trait whose development (specially to a higher level) is often overlooked, even among Bardon students.
    Great post and choice of theme :)

  2. Thanks Virgil for this short and great message, I am now realized more in-depth for both compassionate and anger thoughts, speech, actions which have done in the past. _/\_

  3. a sacred underpinning, but should the seeker have compassion for their abuser?is that covered by the ideas around the saturn current?

    1. Eventually, the seeker should have compassion for their abuser. This is clearly not going to be easy, and it is something many seekers who were abused will have to work their way up towards. The energy of Saturn is like an acid that eats away at one's egotism, and since it is egotism that prevents a person from loving others unconditionally, you could consider Saturn relevant to this topic.


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