Becoming a nurse when I was very young I did not realize I was compassionate. I just knew I liked helping others. As time passed my compassion grew as I shared my patients tears, fears and pain as well as joy, love and peace. I began to realize my shared likenesses compared to my differences. With meditation that blossomed into my connection with all and the growing compassion for everything around me. I started this blog to ignite thoughts. To hopefully get questions to begin in you. I am the embers and you are the kindling and it only takes a small amount of embers to start a fire. If I can help one person to begin to question their actions and thought processes, if I can ignite a increasing compassion in one human towards another human and better yet towards all living things then this is all worth it. I come to you with such compassion and true love for you all with the hope that a few minds can become more enlightened than they were yesterday. With the changing of one mind the whole race of humans improves. Today I discuss compassion with you!
Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. All people are suffering. There is no one who has escaped the human thing called suffering. While I know that most everyone has great compassion for the people of Nepal and what they have been through and will be going through not all people have compassion for people who do not look like they are suffering. During a tragedy, our compassion comes out because we can physically see suffering. We know we would not want to be in their shoes. During 911, I witnessed huge amounts of compassion but a few years after it was like a fire that burned down to the embers again. It always has to be a horrible tragedy before we humans can rise with compassion.
But as I said before, I learned through 30 years of nursing, EVERYONE has pain and fear. There are very few exceptions to this except maybe Buddhist monks and spiritual gurus. Suffering comes from that pain and fear. Pain from life’s experiences as children and what we told ourselves as children as well as painful experiences as teens and adults. Fear is what is shown from these experiences.
There is basically only 2 emotions which are love and fear and everything stems from these two.
From love we get positive emotions such as compassion, empathy, joy, friendship, partnership, strength, honesty, forgiveness, kindness,patience, respect,and selflessness. Fear brings negative emotions such as anger, distrust, bitterness, retaliation, hate,ignorance, guilt and resentment.Everything you do and see around you comes from either of these emotions. The key is to ask the question of “does what I am seeing or doing in this moment come from fear or love?”
When you see a man give change to a teller for a woman who has come up short of the change this comes from love. When you see a young woman provide kindness to a old man who can’t get a packet of ketchup open, you are witnessing love. When a man sees a injured dog and stops and puts the dog in his car to get it medical attention, you are witnessing love. When a neighbor goes next door to check on her neighbor whom she has not seen in weeks, you are seeing love. When a disaster strikes and many people take up donations to help their neighbors again you are witnessing love.
When I see rioting in the streets such as in Ferguson, M.O. I am witnessing fear. The anger, distrust and retaliation all stem from fear. I see fear in ISIS, I see fear in Hitler, I see fear in murder, I see fear more than I see love. Abuse is fear. Killing is fear. War is fear. Greed is fear. Fear comes in many disguises but recognizing it is easy if you put it to the litmus test of “is it love or fear?”
When I see fear I think of a fearful child. When a child is afraid they need comforting, love and compassion. When fear is present giving more fear back only heightens their experience of fear and makes it worse. Fear against fear will never work. When you determine a act is being done out of fear not love it is a sign that compassion is needed. It might even be compassion for yourself. When you realize you have performed a act that did not come from love you must have kindness and compassion for yourself because when you know better, you do better. Love unfortunately is like a tender flower, that after it is planted must be tended to and nurtured to grow and spread. Fear however is like a weed, it only takes a seed to grow quickly in short time and spread. I am not saying if a riot is going on you go down and begin trying to throw your arms around them. I am asking you to watch with compassion and when speaking about the incident speak with compassion. Our words are powerful. There is no right or wrong just our reality of it and society’s instruction of it. Fear is fear and because of that my heart aches for so many. You may feel someone is wrong but if it is from fear, if you retaliate with words or actions, you too are moving from fear. I remember reading about a South African tribe that punishes with love. When a member of the tribe commits a act against another member of the tribe, he/she is placed in the center of a circle of tribe members. They proceed to tell them how good they are and remind them of all the good they have done. After days of telling the offender all the good he has done and the goodness within him the circle is broken, a party is held and he is welcomed back into the tribe. WOW! Imagine if we changed how we punished people in this country and around the world. I challenge you to think differently. Do you want to come from weakness which is what fear does or do you want to come from strength which lies in love? I choose strength. I hope you will too.
Peace and love friends
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson