Thursday, September 18, 2014

Compassionate View


Kylie reached into her bag fumbling after the half-smoked cigarette she tucked away in an empty pack for such an emergency. Foggy with lack of sleep, a cigarette hangover and one too many Mississippi Slammers, she lit it and deeply inhaled. Kylie paused until she could feel the nicotine stave off her withdrawal symptoms. She took another drag trying to forget the guy she slept with after promising herself she would never have another one-night stand. She was glad to be rid of him before the light of day seeped in her bedroom, but the guilt and self-loathing of sharing intimacy with a man who knew nothing about her lingered. Kylie inhaled her final drag, and threw the smoking butt down on the pavement. She opened her car door and prepared herself for the work day ahead.


In the last paragraph, most critically, Kylie lacked compassion for herself. Her behaviors indicated self-loathing. You can see this in the combination of actions harming her health, her job performance, and even her future. She didn’t care about the man she shared her bed with, nor was she concerned with her environment having extinguished her cigarette on Mother Earth’s face leaving the smoking butt on the ground.  These behaviors may not seem serious and aren’t unique, but they indicate imbalances.

Our relationships with ourselves and each other are out of balance. In order to better align with the principles of self-love, we need to start building foundations of self-respect and compassion as the overriding rules to replace self-loathing and the diminution of others and our planet.

I offer up the view Michael Tellinger has reignited in Ubuntu. It goes roughly like this: How can I be happy if my sister or brother next to me is unhappy? 

In current Western thinking, we are conditioned to be happy when we win. There’s nothing wrong with winning. There’s something wrong, however, when someone else’s sorrow causes us joy; or worse, suffering is desirable as it keeps people off balance and unquestioning. That attitude exceeds what should be considered healthy competition and requires widespread healing. Otherwise, the suffering of others will continue to be privately celebrated by the winners who elevate themselves in power and status based on the unhappiness of others.


Individuals of peace and vision have been promoting compassion throughout the ages. Still, it remains a commodity in short supply. What is compassion and why is it so necessary? Compassion, quite simply, is concern with easing and ending suffering. That definition applies not only to humans, but to all life most especially our living, breathing planet Earth. 

Why it is necessary requires a more detailed response.
Compassion is not only necessary, it is critical. Suffering can be seen all around the globe in the forms of emotional or physical anguish. The earth’s air and waters are critically damaged. Natural resources are being mined at an alarming rate. Greed and power mongering has hit an all-time high with wealth resting with 1% of the world’s population while the remainder of the world’s populace is in service to that 1%. War is rampant in the Middle East. Drug Trafficker’s control cities in Central America. Human trafficking is off the charts coming in third as a criminal industry to drug and arms dealing. (
…And this is just a shocking outline of the problems we’re facing.

Is compassion the answer? Absolutely. It must be an integral part of a holistic response to a world hanging in the balance morally, ethically and spiritually. In fact, it must be a key component in any paradigm shift on a scale unparalleled to date individually and globally.

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