More Compassion and Empathy

Happy Sunday, my friends. Can I ask a favor of you? Can you really focus and entertain the importance of this topic.

We live in a social media world and a real world at the moment that is crippled by toxic anger and judgment.

Compassion and empathy are the baseline emotions of an advanced civilization. If humanity is to reach its destined potential, we must establish them as our baseline. The easy anger and ready judgment that marks our culture is a step backwards for the human race.

We will never become the enlightened, spacefaring civilization we can become, if we are forever tangled with each other in circular arguments and chronic conflict.

Consider this as a new course for you personally, because that’s where this shift must begin, and for our civilization as a whole.

As you do remember how special you are and how special is every single person you encounter today. Let’s treat each other as such.

Ray

Remembering Who We Truly Are is the Cure

People say our divides are too wide and our differences too much.

Sorry, but I have to call BS on that. If we focus the surface – the masks, roles, and containers – then those people are right.

When we go a layer deeper and remember these forms that seem to separate us are all made of star dust, we begin to see the commonality and unity.

When we go one more step – beyond the material – to the level of consciousness, we smack our foreheads and say, “What was I thinking? Now I remember.”

We remember that we are conscious beings all and call connected to the cosmic consciousness that is our true root system. We remember that we are here playing these games in time and space for the growth, the experience, and the fun.

But, some might counter, “That’s nice but how does it solve inequality, injustice, and suffering?”

To that I reply, no one who has truly understood the truth about who we all are – every one of us – will ever permit any of those ills to be visited upon themselves or anyone else.

Forgetting, separation and the fear they cause are the real problem. Remembering, unification and the love they evoke are the solution.

Ray

Simple Loving Kindness Meditation

Good morning, my friends. The esteemed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. For the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful work to bring an end to the Vietnam War.

He called his work “Engaged Buddhism.” While older monks sought to remain above the fray in the the country’s civil war, Thay, as he’s known to his students today, led a group of younger monks who worked actively to stop the war. 

For his trouble, the victorious North Vietnamese exiled him from the country. Their loss was the West’s gain. He established his Plum Village Monastery in France and began sharing his message of peace and compassion with western readers.

My favorite book of his is Peace Is Every Step. The book is filled with wisdom and insight into our struggles as human beings and ways to release ourselves from them.

In that book, Hanh shares a simplified version of a Metta (Loving-Kindness) meditation that I have used off and in for many years. It’s a fantastic mantra for meditation, but is also a fantastic aspirational affirmation.

May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.
May I be free from suffering.

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray

Let Love, Compassion, and Peace Decide You

Something will decide you. Let it be love, compassion, and peace.

If you allow the anger and the vitriol to win, you eventually become filled with it.

If you allow “Us” vs. “Them” to triumph, we’ll wind up with an unhappy cinder of a world.

Be open to change. Be open to new ideas. It’s the way of our Universe. Nothing, nothing, stays the same forever. Stopping change is impossible. We can only hope to mold it into something more productive and that helps more people.

A really famous guy counseled to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes today. If you do, I promise, you’ll find a sympathetic figure wanting most of the same things you want. If one mile doesn’t get tou there, walk two. If you’re still angry at the person, you haven’t walked far enough.

The sky is a big place for a narrow mind and a closed heart. Let yours be opened from horizon to horizon. See with new eyes.

Yes, something will decide you. Let it be love, compassion, and peace.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

Anger Never Heals

As sure as 2+2 does not equal 5, anger + anger never equals peace, contentment, or healing.

We live in a world that’s too often filled with anger. Some have just causes for their anger. Others just have unresolved issues lingering in their lives that cause them to lash out at the world. Still others were never taught other tools for dealing with their feelings beyond anger.

The relative anonymity and distance of social media makes it simple to torch other people, their ideas, and their motives.

Whatever the reasons for the anger or the justifications, the equation still holds. Anger + anger never equals peace, contentment, or healing.

Yet, if you look at many of the forces trying to reshape the world, it is anger that drives them. In a world where facts morph and people need scapegoats for their paradigms to work, it’s easy to see to why.

But I tell you this and say it clearly. No solution to our challenges will be conceived anger or its allies blame, hatred, and violence. The belief that these mindsets can fix a world already drunk on them is delusional.

Because of the immutable equation above, angry mindsets, motives, and ideologies cannot mend and heal an angry world. They may believe their ends justify their means, but their success can only result in another version of an angry world.

All the great teachers from all the great faiths – living and dead – have spoken with one voice on this. It is love, it is compassion, it is peace that can remake this angry world. Despite thousands of years of these wise teachings, it’s still easier for many people to rise and live their days filled with anger, blame, and hatred. They speak of “those people” – whoever those people are to them. They point fingers and they scheme win the game by wiping alternative views off the board. They follow leaders and voices that stir their anger rather than their humanity.

General Omar N. Bradley aptly described our dilemma at the dawn of the nuclear age.

We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.

We must get it through our heads that we are ALL in this together. For better or worse, we are passengers on this tiny little blue marble spinning precariously through a vast dark cosmos.

Peace is the way forward. Love is the way forward. Compassion is the way forward. It’s that simple and that hard. There are no exceptions to the rule. Anger begets anger. Love begets love.

The choice, as it always has been, is ours.

Just in case no one has reminded you today, you ARE awesome!

Ray

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