Compassion and Boundaries are two things that are vitally important to any practice or school. As herbalists, if our ego gets in the way...which...is super easy to do...we listen less, learn less, and miss the mark more.
Kathleen Maier has her students read (or at least she did when I studied with her) "The Secret Teachings of Plants" by Stephen Buhner. It's really about the heart as an organ of perception, and via that how we communicate with the world around us, including plants. I think learning to center awareness in the heart is key to employing compassion easiest and most effortlessly. However the heart, while a strong organ, is also a highly sensitive organ and many students embarking on their path of self healing can feel trepidation about centering in their heart. Here I think our herb friends really can help people enter this practice much easier....by cooling liver heat to calm the heart, relax the gallbladder to ease old anger and memories one might not be aware they are holding onto, or tonify the spleen to assuage unmet nurturing issues. People think of calming stress/anxiety through the nervous system but time and again it seems the liver, gallbladder and the spleen are the ones off-kilter precipitating an anxious imbalance in the nervous system and the heart.
I think there are layers to compassion. We can only understand but so deeply depending where we are in our personal journey of healing and enlightenment, and how long we've been on this road of life. If we were raised in judgemental homes (as I was), or were raised in a self- centered fashion, I think it not only takes extra effort, but reinforces that we are always discovering new layers to how much more compassionate we can be and our work is never done. You can never see the dirt under the rug until you pull the rug away. You can never see the rot under the floorboards until you pull them up, etc.
Boundaries are necessary with compassion, as some people might, unknowingly or knowingly, be energy leeches or just have a severe lack of boundaries on their own end. One can only provide but so much compassion before people need to take charge of their own thoughts, actions, and future otherwise they will have minimal personal growth and suck you dry. There must be accountability or all talk of compassion just becomes fluff for people to frolick around in and not accomplish much of anything. Steel sharpens steel yeah?
And of course, harnessing positive thought is key to being able to employ all of this as well. One cannot function from a loving and compassionate point of view if one thinks and feels negatively. We are usually conditioned to be negative, and it takes time to re-form new neural pathways in the brain (and the heart)... This concept of healing taking time aggravates some, but it's a non-negotiable.
The hand of ego can be very heavy, and I think it's a natural human inclination. Ego can be a knee jerk reaction to fearing rejection. The most knowledgeable and skilled healers I have met do not bother to put much of themselves out there to the world, they do not claim to have the best information or anything like that. They just do what they do and do it well, with deep insight, love and indeed, compassion.