The Transformative Power of Compassion

There is a lot going on in the world and when we feel the call to respond then we respond. And yet, at the same time we must be vigilant within ourselves that what we see "out there" that needs to "be fixed" is also within ourselves.  These times allows us to do even deeper work, to see into deeper and more subtle levels of ourselves where we are clinging to beliefs about how things "should be". The ego gets very confused about these things and thinks that if it lets go of its beliefs than nothing will change.  What will change is ourselves.

For me, I decided years ago that I would "rather be free than right".  And, I will continue, with diligence, to look within with curiosity, honesty, and compassion to cast a light into the deepest darkest recesses of my own mind.

I went to our state capital this week. I've never been a political person, never protested anything - except in my mind.  There I stood watching from the edge of the crowd, I even held a sign - but there was no fear, no feeling that I must change anything. Only Presence seeing itself in every face, only Presence seeing the beauty in every being - those against the bill and those for the bill.  Only loving-kindness and compassion were offered.

It took weeks, years actually, for me to get here. When I found out about the bill that would allow discrimination, there was an immediate visceral response. I knew I had to go to the capital but it was my intention to respond from a place of peace and calm instead of the fear and anger I was feeling.

So, I did the only thing I know that works - I looked inside to see what my mind was believing that was fueling the anger and fear. It was a difficult sojourn into the shadowy depths. My whole system was telling me that "I am right", "they are wrong".  There was a litany of strongly held beliefs about what "should" and "shouldn't be" which fueled my rage.

I saw that attachment to our beliefs, views, wants, and desires keeps us grasping and clinging to what we want, in our life and in our world. Which causes us and others a great deal of pain and suffering. And aversion (resistance) is the aggressive energy desiring to avoid, get rid of, or destroy that which we don't want, in our life or in our world. Which also causes us and others a great deal of pain and suffering.

Both of these habitual ways of reacting to internal and external events keeps us locked into a cat and mouse game in which we are constantly tossed about by our emotions and habitual patterns. Never truly seeing ourselves, others, the world, or reality as it truly is; as our conditioned habitual ways of thinking, believing, and reacting cloud our view.

I realized I held onto my beliefs and resistance just as strongly as they held onto theirs and in that regard we are the same. I asked myself "where are they coming from that they would believe this bill is a good thing?" Realizing that my beliefs are just beliefs, my world view is one of a multitude, softening the edges of my mind and heart to be open to considering their fears, needs, values, and concerns.

Yes, I see the suffering in the world, and how ignorance leads to beliefs being used to subjugate, discriminate, terrorize and murder.  I've felt the burn of this ignorance in myself and in my family. I've stood face to face with those who say they love me and in the same breath that I'm going to hell because I don't believe what they believe. I've had to reach deep down within myself to find the strength and courage to see through my reactive anger to uncover the love that loves them exactly as they are.  Even when I can feel their words, their hate, fueling the fires of judgment, bigotry and discrimination so ever present in this country.  Even when I know this type of belief system is what continues to pit "brother against brother" and could lead to my own demise because we stand on opposite sides of an ideology. 

Yet, none of it will end, in myself or in others, if I stand in strident opposition, demanding  change from a place of division, fear, and anger. So, when I feel called to respond to the suffering in the world with action I will continue to look within and weed my own garden of fear, judgment, anger, and hate; for it is my intention to respond from clarity, love, and compassion, for that is the only thing that will lead to lasting transformation, lasting peace, within myself and in our world.