Today in the world, there seems to be more turmoil and tragedy than ever before.
As I write this, it looks like Libya is on the verge of civil war, whilst in New Zealand hundreds of people are still missing after the earthquake.
At the same time, there are numerous deaths all around the world every day through war, famine and drought.
Whilst we can only hope and pray for the people affected, you may feel that these events do not really impact your day to day life.
So what has all this to do with you?
But the real question we have to consider is just when and where do we start showing our compassion and where does it all end?
This is Day 24 of our “28 Day Relationships Adventure (DRA)” in February.
You can read all 28 articles which are listed at the bottom of this post.
Today I want to talk about compassion in the context of our relationship with the rest of the people in the world.
“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike – each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.” – Buddha
As we read about all the calamitous events online, we can certainly pray for the people affected and send them positive vibes and our love. Where possible, we can also help out materially through money donations and worldly goods.
But the point I would like you to consider is this – are we doing enough?!
What is truly missing is compassion. I sincerely believe that if people take this one thing to heart, the whole world will evolve.
Compassion is about putting yourself in the shoes of the other person and seeing the world from their perspective. It is about feeling their pain and empowering them to be their best. It is not about showing pity or being patronizing.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama
I strongly feel that it’s high time we really questioned how we are living our lives and treating our fellow human beings and the planet.
Just how can we learn to treat each other with more kindness, care, consideration and dare I say it with love?
How can we learn from the events of the last few years to bring more compassion into the world?
One of the lessons to be learnt from such tragedies is of course just how helpless we are in the face of natural disasters.
However the more important lesson we can learn is the level of compassion and indeed heroism that we human beings can show during such times.
Soon after some of the recent natural disasters such as Tsunami, Katrina and Haiti earthquake disasters, we witnessed a huge “outbreak” of compassion. But what usually happens is that our level of compassion subsides soon after, once we don’t have any major natural catastrophes to focus on.
Right now, there is an ongoing emergency in parts of Africa suffering from drought, famine and war. But somehow Africa and the chronic poverty inherent in some countries never commands the same media coverage as say the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even the morality drought in reality TV shows.
It is an indictment of our times and of our values that we spend more time on debating the behaviour of so called celebrities on a contrived TV show than on things that really matter.
The question is just how can we keep alive the compassion after the media focus on such disasters as Haiti wanes as it always seems to do? And how can we show such compassion during “normal” times?
How can we harness this force for good?
It’s really simple – you can start by showing compassion and kindness to all those around you!
Compassion arises with a change of perspective about who we really are and our relationship to the rest of the world.
In the mid-seventies, Betty Williams in Ireland set up an organisation soon after hearing that some children had been shot during the Northern Ireland conflict. She cried – “what kind of people have we become to allow our children to be killed in the streets?”
Within 4 hours, she had galvanised her community and had soon collected 16,000 names in a petition. She later went on to win the Nobel peace prize.
We don’t have to wait to carry out major acts of compassion either. Though we all have the potential to be a Mother Teresa, we can begin today through small acts of kindness and compassion in our own world.
Here are some simple steps for you to get started:-
1. Become Aware of Just how Compassionate You Are Already
Recall an act of compassion you carried out. Reflect on the qualities you already have that allow you to be compassionate e.g. kindness, empathy, love, sympathy, goodness, listening, understanding and so on.
2. Become Aware of any Missing Qualities Which Would Make You Even More Compassionate
You already have some great qualities and perhaps there are some others which you can cultivate on your path to greater compassion e.g. patience, understanding, being accepting of others.
3. Create the Intention to be More Compassionate Today and Every Day from Now On
Once you set an intention to be compassionate, you will be able to come up with lots of ideas to do so each day. For example:-
- Enjoy quality time with family and show them more understanding.
- Thank friend and stop judging him / her.
- Be in gratitude for what you have.
- Stop beating yourself up! Remember, compassion begins at home.
- Organise fund raising party for your favourite cause.
- Donate all your unwanted stuff to your local charity shop.
- Arrange party at home for friends to show your appreciation of them.
Enjoy bringing more compassion today into your life. Just by having read these words, you have already started.
Can you imagine how the world would be a better place if we all began to live a life of compassion, understanding and acceptance?
Now what will YOU do today to bring more compassion into the world?
Please leave your comments below and share them with the world. Your actions are certain to inspire many others. Thank you.
Daily Exercise for Today
For today’s exercise, choose to show compassion to at least one person today. Be authentic about it and really come from your heart. Make sure they are left in a better place than before.
Spend a few minutes reflecting on how you felt afterwards. What more can you do tomorrow?
And then make it a life long habit to show compassion to at least one person every day for the rest of your life.
28 Day Relationship Adventure
Postscript – Here are the complete 28 articles in this series from February 2011.
Please do check them all out:-)
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