Sunday, 2 August 2015

Why The World Needs Your Compassion

© Kathelijne Roosen


Every day, tragic events happen. An aircraft gets shot down, holistic doctors get murdered, a majestic lion gets killed… It reminds us we live in sad times, in a sick world where madness sometimes takes over and very gloomy things happen. It might even make you feel hopeless about the future of the world. What will become of us as a species? Will we ever learn to get along and leave each other be?

But what happens when we express this sadness? There are people who find this very frightening. They will say things like: What about all the people who died in <this/that> war? What about the people who die of starvation every day? What about all the animals that are killed in the bio-industry?
And yes, of course these are also very upsetting things. And sometimes the sadness of the world is simply overwhelming. But we can’t deal with sadness by comparing it with another event. That is just shifting our attention. We have to deal with our pain. Why is that so hard?

Some may even condemn others when they express their sadness about an issue. “What a loser”, is something that might be said. What do you think such a comment does to the world? How does it contribute to a solution, or to a better world?

And then there are people who start to focus all of their anger on the person who caused the suffering, the ‘wrongdoer’. They may even get violent. They want to hunt him down, kill him, make him suffer for what he did. But can we really fight violence with violence? And if we choose to go down  that path, then what does that create more of in the world? Yes, more violence…

Well, how do we respond then, you may ask? The answer is compassion. First of all, compassion for ourselves. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Allow yourself to think what you are thinking. And keep the focus on yourself. Allow yourself the time to heal. It is not easy to welcome all this pain and letting it stay for a while, especially if it is very overwhelming at times, when a lot of things seem to happen that are difficult to understand. But if you allow it to be there, without judging it, without wanting things to be different, then it allows you an opportunity to transform yourself. And this also transforms the world. In fact, it is one of the most powerful things you can do for the world and other beings: go within and transform yourself, by making peace with the part of you that is suffering.

This post is for Cecil the lion. It is for the people who died in the 9/11 attacks. It is for the holistic doctors that were murdered in Florida recently. It is for the countless animals with no name, who are bred for food, mistreated and slaughtered on a daily basis, while their meat may even just end up in a dumpster. It is for the victims of the MH17 shooting. It is for the majestic trees that are cut down every day. It is for every living being; human, non-human, tree or plant, that lost their life through somebody’s greed, love of power, money, status or any other "reason".

But this post is also for the suffering individuals that do the damage. It is for the dentist who shot an innocent lion (and other beautiful beings). It is for the people who shot the plane. It is for the people who planned the 9/11 attacks. It is for the person who committed mass shootings. It is for people who abuse their pets. Can you imagine what pain they will suffer when they finally wake up to what they did? Can you imagine how hard it will be for them to live with themselves? Or perhaps they suffered a lot of pain in their lives themselves. So much so, that they have become numb to their own feelings, and the feelings of others.

Let’s not let that happen to us. Let us connect with our sadness if and when it comes up. Let us not condemn, fear or deny it. Not in ourselves and not in others. Let us not compare horrible events with other horrible events. None is more tragic than the other. They are all tragic. They are all unnecessary. Let us connect with the pain and allow it to heal, first of all within ourselves. Because what the world needs most, is our collective compassion.
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