“This can’t be real” was my first reaction when I heard the phrase “Pathological Altruism”. Altruism is all about compassion and other goody stuff. I discovered a book which was published in 2012 with this title when I started looking into this topic. This book contains over 30 research papers. I soon concluded that there is some truth behind the phrase “Pathological Altruism”.
Aspects of the wisdom traditions of the East seem to acknowledge the existence of pathological altruism. Eastern traditions often emphasize the importance of recharging one’s Prana or life force energy before engaging in social service. Pranayama and meditation are age old tools to recharge oneself. Service must be an expression of the feeling of fullness within. The wall of pathological altruism remains afar when service and meditation go together.
Many in society shy away from engaging in service when meditation practices go out of fashion. This has been the case in history, for example before Buddha was born. Buddha revived meditation practices in India. His followers were totally charged up to serve society. The connection between service and meditation is not well known today. Those who force themselves into social work are likley to experience burn out if they don’t look into the necessity of recharging their Prana through practices such as Sudarshan Kriya.