Albert Einstein is quoted as saying:
"A human being is part of the whole called by us 'universe', a part of time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
How then every day, from moment to moment, do we retrain the way we think, perceive and interact with our environment and one another, by cultivating compassion. By recognizing ourselves in every person we encounter.
Put yourselves in the shoes of someone begging for food on the street.
Think: "Have I ever been hungry and had no access to food? Have I ever needed help so badly that I reached out to strangers?" Maybe you have no recollection of being in their position, but you can then think to yourself, "What would it be like if I were in their position? How would I want to be treated?"
What is Compassion?
Many people confuse pity with compassion.
The Dalai Llama has said this about the subject:
“First of all, we must be clear about what we mean by compassion.
Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment.
For instance, the love parents feel for their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs, so it is not fully compassionate.
Again, in marriage, the love between husband and wife - particularly at the beginning, when each partner still may not know the other's deeper character very well - depends more on attachment than genuine love."
Our desire can be so strong that the person to whom we are attached appears to be good, when in fact he or she is very negative. In addition, we have a tendency to exaggerate small positive qualities. Thus when one partner's attitude changes the other partner is often disappointed and his or her attitude changes too. This is an indication that love has been motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual.
True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change, even if they behave negatively.”
How does the idea of compassion transcend spirituality and relate to Natural Law?
By recognizing the likenesses amongst all peoples.
We all have the very same temporal needs:
- adequate nutrition
- clean air
- clean water
- warmth/ clothing
- right relations
By honoring the symbiotic relationship between one another and our environment, we walk in a direction of no longer nourishing actions, systems, behaviors or thoughts that perpetuate our suffering.
In essence, by cultivating and practicing compassion we align ourselves with and we become (and I quote now from TZM Activist’s Orientation guide) “guided by the priority of seeking the highest optimization of circumstances that preserve and maximize the abundance and quality of our necessities of life.”
Without cultivating compassion, the direction we advocate as awareness activists has absolutely no chance of taking hold.
As Martin Luther King Jr said: "A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
This revolution of values is in concert with the implementation of a rational approach to social management. The cultivation of compassion coupled with application of technological advancements that will increase efficiency and sustainability is the formula for the change we advocate.
Finding within yourself a piece of everyone you meet, seeing your reflection in the actions of others and recognizing our symbiotic contribution to and dependance upon this planet is a great reminder to constantly give of yourself.
When you practice retraining the direction of your thoughts, or rather, being the change (so to speak), you WILL change, and as a result, that part of everyone else that is you, will change to.