Genuine compassion – seeing through the political demonisation of sacred terrorism

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’

He added:

‘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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DO8 Genuine Compassion

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Back to reality – the real role of religions

The real role of religions is not very complicated. The basis of almost all human religions usually boils down to 5 key factors:

  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t steal
  • Don’t kill
  • Favour love over fear
  • Offer others compassion rather than conflict.

(Emet – God’s seal of the truth)

That is the true and basic message of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Jesus of Nazareth, the 10 Commandments of Moses in the Jewish Torah and the Quran.

(The role of religion is to encourage groups of humans not to descend into killing and mass murder)

There is a problem when religions become involved in tribalism, justification of human conflicts, money as a business and covering up occasions when they are lying, stealing, killing and favouring hatred over compassion. This is not an issue for a single religion or religious philosophy because almost all religions have lost their way at some time.

It was George Gurdjieff who noted that humans can descend as groups but only ascend as individuals. His words are very simple and, for the most part, very wise. Human history is full of examples of ‘Group descent’ into ever increasing circles of war and brutality in what Terence McKenna described as the 250,000 year-old human ‘Silly Monkey’ experiment.

Logically for me and perhaps just for me, what Gurdjieff is saying is that the role of all religions is to encourage a strong platform of faith that resists any form of group descent into war and brutality. The role of religion is to provide a sturdy platform on which individuals can avoid unnecessary human conflict and focus on their unique human opportunity to ascend and find personal evolution

The challenge for most religions is that their chief political and monetary sponsors are often the people who profit most by exploiting war and human brutality. Most often the people who seek to pervert the effect of religion seem to describe their actions as ‘Philanthropic’ when they are clearly anything but charitable and they show very little love and compassion towards the majority of humanity.

 (The more than money test)

The ‘More than money and gold‘ test of the value of any human life has been in existence since the dawn of human pictographs and writing. The ‘tomb robbing‘ of even the most successful human’s graves over so many millennia shows that no money or gold can be transferred after death. The wealth just passes to another one of Buckminster Fuller’s  ‘Great Pirates‘ who claims the honours, titles and the badges of petty ‘Philanthropy‘.

Perhaps the major world religions might benefit from going back to the origins of their sacred texts and the warnings about the very real danger of ‘Golden Calf‘. Perhaps, religious leaders simply need to remember five simple things:

  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t steal
  • Don’t kill
  • Favour love over fear
  • Offer others compassion rather than conflict?


Gratitude and truth

Gratitude and truth are like identical twins. They are inseparable. It was the Buddha who many thousands of years ago suggested that:

‘Good men and bad men differ radically. Bad men never appreciate kindness shown them, but wise men appreciate and are grateful. Wise men try to express their appreciation and gratitude by some return of kindness’ 

Cicero advised:

‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others’ 

Sophocles spoke about how:

‘Gratitude to gratitude always gives birth’

I like the idea that gratitude is a parental virtue and the fastest way to find happiness. I lie to think that the best way for a parent to find gratitude is to guide their children to follow a path that makes them, rather than their parents, most happy.

Mahatma Gandhi stated:

‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’

The basis of gratitude is an intense sense of the truth or what Ghandi described as Satyagraha – the insistence on the truth. This insistence on the truth is described in Hebrew texts as EMET – the seal of the truth

Emet – the seal of the truth

G K Chesterton counselled:

‘I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder… when it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude’

Positive outcomes of being grateful are:

  • Greater satisfaction with life and feeling more loved
  • More optimistic, alert, enthusiastic and higher energy levels
  • Less stress and anxiety and better sleep (duration and quality of sleep)
  • More open to interconnectedness with others and openness to sharing
  • More likely to help others and less judgmental of others
  • Taking better care of yourself, less self-pity and better immune system
  • Less interest in materialism and possessions.

Gratitude, like love, is one of the most powerful emotions and one that shows a clear differentiation between positive and negative people. Grateful people seem to have better mechanisms for coping with life, asking for help and planning how they are going to overcome difficulties. Gratitude seems to explain levels of well-being more than most other factors. There is an increasing level of scientific study that supports the view that grateful people tend to have a higher level of personal health and well-being than people who are not grateful.

 When you show Gratitude to nature, natural energies can wink back even for a few moments in time – (the Himalayas close to Everest)

 Miracles are everywhere if you can take a moment to see them

Albert Einstein wrote:

‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle’

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DO5 Gratitude and Service

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