Genuine compassion is probably the greatest measure of the meaningfulness of a human life. In a world that is increasingly being divided by the proponents of ‘sacred terrorism’ and dubious ‘wars of international intervention’ it is important to remember that ‘love and compassion’ remain the most basic performance indicators.
We live in a world where the accumulation of money, power and job titles has become more important to a tiny minority of ‘sacred terrorists’ and dubious Philanthropists who have very little compassion for the rest of common humanity. We live in a world where eight people have more wealth than over 50% of the rest of the human race. We live in a world where dubious Philanthropists have been using the fear of ‘sacred terrorism’ to sustain this accelerating inequality.
It was the Dalai Lama who remained us that:
‘All religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is that they should be part of our daily lives’
‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion’
Having compassion for the others begins with having compassion for Self. The process starts with learning to be kind to yourself. When we accept ourselves unconditionally we become more able to serve others. Selfless help for others is only possible once we had accepted and learned Self-kindness.
Kristin Neff in his book ‘Self-Compassion’ described compassion in terms of three components. Self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. The interesting part of his approach is the inter- connection between these three components.
There is a Buddhist proverb that states:
‘Genuine compassion is based on the recognition that others have the right to happiness just as you do’
(Fair Use) The absurdity in the hearts of ‘sacred terrorists’ in France and Belgium
The sort of ‘sacred terrorism’ that we have seen in recent years is the absolute opposite of love and compassion even if these self-proclaimed ‘sacred terrorists’ claim some form of religious rightfulness and they sometimes paint hearts of blood in their pitiless terror attacks.
It was Lao Tzu who pointed to a different way to find the treasures of life in the face of stupidity of ‘sacred terrorism’ by the tiny minorities that occur across many religions:
‘I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. These three are your greatest treasures‘
Genuine compassion is much more than just giving money, philanthropy and/or doing charitable works. As Andrew Cohen once said:
‘Compassion is when you do something good without any expectations’
It is important not to confuse compassion with the sometimes boastful claims of self-proclaimed but ‘dubious Philanthropists’ who are often just taking advantage of tax breaks through charitable contributions. As Martin Luther King famously said:
‘Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary’
Compassion involves a passionate desire to work with others to help them to help themselves to a better life, whatever that is for them. The personal fulfilment that comes from that co-creation, giving, passion and involvement is what makes it all worthwhile.
In a world where ‘sacred terrorists’ and some well known ‘dubious Philanthropists’ are working hard to demonise large groups of people because of their religion and their country of origin.
This is a week in which two ‘sacred terrorists’ called David Rockefeller and Martin McGuiness died from heart illnesses. Ironically, they died from problems with their hearts a traditional sign of lack of ‘love and compassion.’ Of course their consequences are their consequences to be experienced purely by themselves. It is possible to feel compassion for ‘sacred terrorists’ and dubious Philanthropists whatever they have done in the past.
It was the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who reminded us:
‘To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human’
Perhaps the most important thing is not to be diverted into fear and hatred by the Lawless Men of ‘sacred terrorism’ and dubious Philanthropists. Love and compassion will always be a more positive path for individual humans to stay away from the demonisation of others that is the key to group descent into unnecessary brutality, killing and wars.
It was Meister Eckhart who summed up the importance of ‘love and compassion’ as the key measure of a human life when he wrote:
‘The best name for God is compassion’
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