It came to me that perhaps the vitriolic rants in today’s politics (which is really nothing new in the history of the genre) should have progressed beyond what we hear today. I wonder why our species still wallows in the mud of fearful innuendo and separating us from them.
To me, it’s a cheap shots contest with social media adding a new arm to public discourse that chucks compassion out the window like pig slop.
I watch tyrants and bloviators strut bravado and weaponry as if they alone must dominate from their palaces built with bricks of fear, and I suspect, a vast supply of self-loathing. How else can one look in the mirror and not give heart for the persons below who struggle to just stay alive?
In this shadowy world, the weight of power and dominion grows myopic. It becomes a nearsighted vision in the big picture and is destined to fail. History proves my statement true.
If ever there was a time when individuals, like you and me, have the opportunity to usher in significant positive change, it is now.
The radius of change is as vast as the cosmic radius of the universe in which we spin each second. A natural instinct to be a force for good is given to us a birth, and it is how we nurture that natural instinct that is either the drop of water that becomes the ocean, or the drop of water that dries on the arid sand.
Our efforts require personal mining ops. We must dig into our hearts, our souls, and spend more time reflecting in the mirror as opposed to smartphones hooked to selfie sticks.
Spelunking the dark caves within ourselves takes a fearless heart. It’s an adventure that requires the courage to find the path that will lead us to our own self-compassion.The path toward self-compassion can bring us to the most magnificent inner chamber filled with light from the crystal prisms deep within.
Like any one who climbs to great heights and great depths, the journey requires a level of personal fitness. The fitness comes from our inner search for peace within, and has as many machinations as offered by a personal physical fitness trainer. The sweat from our brows in this fitness course comes from quietude, contemplation, the manner of our language and the words we choose to use, how we view the world, and the moves we make to make it better.
This is not some cosmic rambling of an aging grandmother. This is a researched course of action in universities, conferences and churches around the world. It is a designated effort to bring compassion within and without.
An example comes from the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research Education at Stanford University, where Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) is both a research and training program. The principal author of CCT, Thupten Jinpa, Phd, recently wrote “A Fearless Heart.” From the book:
In CCT (Compassion Cultivation Training), we target four areas for change: outlook, awareness, capacity for empathy, and behavior. We change your outlook primarily by working with our conscious intentions and the attitudes we bring to our everyday experience to the world. We enhance our awareness by working at our attentional capacity and learning simply to be with our own experiences as they unfold. We cultivate our empathetic capacity by warming our hearts through consciously wishing others well, especially our loved ones and taking joy in their happiness. We learn to expand the scope of our empathy by recognizing similarities that we share with others especially our common humanity. Through changing our outlook, awareness, and capacity for empathy, by consciously living out our compassion in action, we transform our behavior. Through changing our behavior, we change the world.
All this means is be the change you wish to see in the world.
I choose to not live in fear. There’s been enough of that in my life. Declining fear as a basis of operation and thinking has brought a turn-around in my destiny. This does not mean that I don’t exercise caution. After all, I wear boots when I hike in the wilderness — both physically and metaphorically.
I fully understand that my efforts to be a force for good may impact nothing more than my garden when I weed and clip, but I also understand the wise words shared with me during my 30 Mindful Days project last January, “And when you feel despair, ask yourself, ‘How do ants empty a silo?’ One ant at a time.”