"I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from understanding that you are a gift in my life - whoever you are, whatever our differences."
(John Denver)It's the ONLY thing worth doing. Radically simple. Radically effective. Practicing compassion or in other words living by the golden rule does more than heal others it heals our own heart when we practice it. As the well known author on religious thought, Karen Armstrong states after decades of research and study it seems to be the only thing that brings everlasting happiness. One reason why this concept fascinates me is because it isn't always the easiest thing to do from time to time. I guess that is why it is worth doing and yet makes our life more fulfilling. I can only speak for myself in that there are definitely moments where I default and pass judgement not consciously putting myself in another's shoes. These lapses never feel good and weigh me down giving good reason to focus on practicing compassion. Somehow, when focused on it things tend to challenge me to arise to it on a more radical level. Not always easy but always rewarding.
One thing I've realized is that it is truly a practice. One that brings conscious effort in the beginning just like anything and one I have failed on many occasions. So much seems to stem from simply being conscious. When we ride on selfish behavior it usually originates from the mind not the heart. I write about this not because I am there, but because I'd like to better live in the heart of compassion in my day to day life. Like Karen Armstrong states, it is the only thing worth doing. I guess personally I would add yoga practice to that or any practice that brings us inward, consciously watching and observing the patterns of the mind acting as a gateway to our center, into our hearts. Unblocking ourselves daily is an important part of the process I can attest to. Writing has also helped in this regard to cleanse what inhibits my heart and weighs on my shoulders, especially if I am filled with thoughts and worry. It's a daily effort. An effort worth making.
Another thing I have come to realize is right and wrong doesn't seem to matter so much anymore. We will always have our differences with one another. There will always be various points of view but at the end of the day honestly looking to one another in truth that we are connected holds more value. I truly believe every human being deserves dignity and respect and above all compassion. We all have experienced grief and sadness as well as joy and triumph, this we share and can honor in one another. One person's triumph and success is our own! We never have to think as if we are less because of it. At the same time when those around us suffer we can share in it too and find understanding that sometimes in life there is a hard battle to be had. We are never above or below it. Extending a hand of understanding is sometimes all someone needs in the most challenging of moments and life experiences. It becomes tiring to find fault with others when instead I can find the thread that connects us all.
It is not only a new year but a new age. If we don't stand together we will fall.