“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity can’t survive.” Dalai Lama
Do you have compassion for those who are suffering in the world or only for the people you personally know? Do you have compassion for yourself?
Only Fear Separates Us From Others
We are living in a world deeply troubled by fear and separation, so how do we live with that day by day? It is so easy to believe that our thoughts and actions have no consequence, but they do.
We are all energy—our actions, words, and thoughts are energy that we put out into the world. If what we offer is loving and compassionate, that energy will help heal those who live in fear. After all, fear is the only thing that separates us.
Differences Can Teach Us What We Need To Learn
I am very grateful that, in my life, I have lived in unique environments where I was always rather different from those who were born and raised there. Because of this, I’ve learned to look beyond what is different in others to see what it is we have in common. Even the differences have been valuable because they taught me new things about life and made me stretch and learn to adjust to a new environment.
I was fortunate to travel to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant in the 1990s. I was living in New Orleans, a place where the culture was deeply influenced by West African culture. I saw the roots of its music, food, and the commonality of emphasis on family and community.
As for living in New Orleans itself, I learned to let go, have fun, and take life less seriously. Those were lessons I needed to learn at that point in life. The rest of my immediate family lived there, and it was a joy to be close to family after years of living far away.
During the time I lived in Nebraska, I learned that at a distance the landscape looked bare to a mountain-loving person like me, but in reality, there was a much more subtle beauty to that land. You just had to pay more attention to see it. The same was true of the people who tended to be not very emotionally expressive.
We Need To Look Beyond Political and Cultural Differences
I’ve also lived in New Mexico where the art and Native-American relationship to the land touched me deeply. And I’ve lived in Washington, DC and its political climate. But in each case, I learned something new that helped me understand that we are all different and yet all alike. Our humanity binds us together despite the cultural or political differences, and it is our humanity that matters.
Compassion Heals Us
The Dalai Lama reminds us that we will not survive without love and compassion. When we love our neighbor, we care about him or her. We are concerned for his struggles. The definition of compassion that I like the most is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” So compassion is not just about our feelings, it is also about what we do.
When we express compassion, we help others to heal by sharing our love with them. We can bridge gaps caused by religious or political differences by focusing on our human needs. By expressing this aspect of our humanity, we are saying we are all One, and that is what matters the most. Healing ourselves and our society can only happen when we put aside the fears that separate us.
Fear Separates Us
On the national and international level, it seems that all the focus is on what separates us, and at the source of that is one thing—fear. A spiritual teacher of mine also mentioned in the 1980s that unless we learn to release our fears, we will destroy ourselves. But she also said that 1986 was a turning point when 6% of the population reached an awareness level that would allow us to heal our lives and survive as a species.
As wars rage, especially in the Middle East, her words are haunting because the need to control others has taken over our ability to relate to those who are different. We are only concerned with being the person or country that has power over others. But in most of these wars, a group that has been oppressed is fighting for freedom, and in some instances what they are doing may be the only way a correction can be made at this time.
We Must Release Our Fears
One of the reasons, I teach workshops on how to release your fear is that releasing our fears is the only way to free us from the confines of insecurity. It is only when we feel insecure that we need to control others. When we feel secure within ourselves, it is natural to love and feel compassion and we reach out to others who are in need. When we express this positive energy, we begin to change our world, person by person.
We may not be able to stop the international wars, but we can stop the wars in our own lives by learning to let go of the fears that create problems. Letting go of those fears helps free us to love ourselves and others, and when love is in our hearts, we do feel sympathy for others’ difficulties and will choose to reach out to help in any way we can.
By Practicing Compassion, We Become Peacemakers
In this world we have allowed power and fear to control life. What if we chose love and compassion instead? We could save not only our own lives, but the world as well. We have to be the heroes in our own journeys.
Current Release Your Fear Workshops – click Here
© 2014 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5
Related Articles: Small Acts of Compassion Can Save the World, Compassion Can Change the World, You can Change the World – ComPASSion Project (video)