February 19, 2015

Let This Be The Day




Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.  -The Dalai Lama


February 20th 2015: The day when 1000 voices are coming together to speak words of compassion into a world that desperately needs to hear them. I'm excited to be among those voices.

Webster defines compassion as: "Sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." Literally compassion means to "suffer together."



True compassion means not only feeling another's pain but also being moved to help relieve it.
-Daniel Goleman 



Mankind has and is making unequaled progress on so many fronts. People are more connected globally than we've ever been before. Communication is instant and we no longer need to wonder about anything as Google is only a tap away. Many of these advancements have contributed greatly to the quality of life we enjoy. I wonder if they're also contributing to the decline of compassion.

We're confronted almost constantly with suffering via news stations, social media sites and printed news. Is this barrage of pain serving not only to inform us but also to dull our senses and heighten our tolerance to it?



If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. 
-The Dalai Lama



How can we remain caring and have a desire to help alleviate the suffering of others when the sheer magnitude of distress exceeds our ability to completely comprehend it? How can we "save the world?" There's just too much to do and we, with all of our time saving creations, seem to have less time today than ever. Isn't it easier just to block it out - refuse to acknowledge the suffering in hopes that it will either take care of itself or someone else will take care of it? Isn't that why we pay taxes? So something will be done? These are all good questions, with no satisfactory answers.


Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion - towards ourselves and towards all living beings. 
-Thich Nhat Hanh


It is easy to become overwhelmed. It's even easier to pretend that suffering isn't real or is self imposed by the poor choices that others make. Sometimes that is the case after all. People do from time to time land on hard times through circumstances they helped to create. Don't we all?


Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. 
- Confucius 


When we're suffering ourselves, isn't the one thing we want from others compassion? Don't we want to be understood, heard, and directed? Compassion is an easy concept to understand when we're on the needing end of it. Its power to heal is completely evident then.

So, what can we do? Where do we even start with the overwhelming task at hand?


 RIGHT WHERE WE ARE!


None of us can do everything, but each of us can do something. We can start in our homes to be more present and aware of the needs of those we love with a heart open to responding. We can carry it from there into our relationships with our friends and colleagues. We offer compassion to complete strangers as we encounter them on the roadways - heaven knows that compassion could make our commutes  much less stressful.

We can seek first to understand, then to be understood. We can offer support to a grieving friend - take them a meal, offer to listen and just be with them.



COMPASSION DOES THE SPIRIT GOOD! PASS IT ON!

 
Compassion begins with awareness coupled with concern. It doesn't need to be some huge feat. It's often the small acts of tender kindness that mean the most to others. Just letting them know that they're not invisible and someone is aware of the burden they carry can do so much.

We can begin to make eye contact with those on the streets who are homeless. Show them that we recognize their inherent worth - even if we can't offer financial aid at that moment. We can afford a smile and a hello no matter how down on our luck we may be.


Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. 
 - Nelson Mandela



As transforming as a compassionate act can be for the one who receives it, it is even more transforming for the person offering it. It is impossible to serve another without our own hearts being lifted. We forget - even for just that moment - our own concerns. Our spirits are renewed. 


The joy compassionate service brings is something we want to feel again and again. It reminds of us of something deep inside ourselves that has always been there even when unused. It connects our hearts to others making us feel less isolated and alone. 



The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.
- Norman Cousins


Let this day, February 20, 2015, be the day when we  recommit to our humanity. Let it be a defining moment when we open our eyes and see again. Let's find a way to lift a burden, share a sorrow, offer a helping hand.

Let's remember that we're all more alike than we will ever be different, that our human needs are the same. Let this be the day that your heart begins taking its daily recommended dose of joy born of compassionate concern for another. Let me offer you just this one warning:


WARNING: ACTS OF COMPASSION MAY BECOME ADDICTIVE AND HAZARDOUS TO YOUR APATHY.

16 comments:

  1. I love how you point out how important "small" acts of compassion can be because so often we think we need to do something grand, but usually it's the little things that make the biggest difference.

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    1. Thanks Lillian!
      I think we all get stuck on this. If we all just care in small ways in the places we are, it would start a wave that would wash over the earth. Joy is contagious!

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  2. "Let this be the day that your heart begins taking its daily recommended dose of joy born of compassionate concern for another."--Yes! And while there might be a minimum recommended dose, there are no negative effects for mega-doses. :-)

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    1. I totally agree Kristi! No problem with mega dosing other than it may become addictive. :0 How great would that be?

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  3. It really is the little things, the things we think are no big deal, that are often the biggest deal to the person on the recieving end!

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    1. Often the little things are easier to accept. It's easier being on the giving end than the receiving end sometimes. We all need to become more gracious receivers too. It's in the receiving that others are allowed to be blessed by giving. We need to learn to take turns doing both. :) Thanks for reading!

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  4. Great quotes! And a wonderful message. I particularly love the plan to improve everyone's commute. ;)

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    1. :) I try hard to keep in mind the times I've gotten distracted, realized my exit had come up sooner than expected or missed someone in a blind spot and how bewildering it was to be treated like a wanton criminal for it. It helps me give others the benefit of the doubt.

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  5. I love your ideas of starting with simple everyday interactions like making eye contact with a homeless person. Compassion starts with each of us in small ways. :)

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    1. I agree Nathana. I think people would do more if they could get past thinking it has to be something monumental. In my own life it's been the simple things that were done from the heart instead of some of the bigger things that felt "obligation" motivated that have made the biggest impressions. Think widows mite. Thanks for your input!

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  6. Thank you for this. Having compassion for those around us is truly nourishing for the soul.

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    1. I agree Elizabeth. It starts a cycle of nurturing ourselves through nurturing others. That can't be a bad thing. :)

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  7. I'm glad you brought out that it's the small acts of kindness that mean the most. And these acts are so easy to do! I think everyone has the capacity for kindness and do small acts that go unrecognized or overlooked by the receiver for what they are. “For every bad thing in life, there are more good things to tip the balance.” ~Richelle Mead.

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    1. You bring up a good point Kate. As important as it is for us to perform acts of kindness and compassion, it's equally important to look for and appreciate the acts of kindness that others put forth on our behalf. That's easiest accomplished by having a grateful heart. Appreciation fills the heart of a giver as much as kindness fills the soul of the receiver. Thanks for your comments!

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  8. Your observation, "we're all more alike than we will ever be different, that our human needs are the same" is just as eloquent and important as all of the amazing quotes you've used here to illustrate your point, Anita. Reading this makes me feel as though I can be a better person, too.

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    1. You're so kind Jann! Compassion is a topic I'm passionate about because of the impact it's had on my life. There really is no way to measure how far the simplest act of kindness can travel. I have been the recipient of so many of them myself and I'm sure the people responsible will never understand the full impact their seemingly small act had on me or how it continues to ripple out because of how it changed the way I see and respond to others. Compassion change the hearts of both the give and receiver. In my opinion there is no act too small to have great impact. Echos of kindness live on way past the event.

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