By Alicia Moore
- Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
“the victims should be treated with compassion”
Disclaimer: When I say “we” or “our”, I’m not speaking about each individual. I’m merely speaking about society as a whole. I know that there are many, many people out there that move through their lives with compassion and love.
As I sit here and breathe inside this body, I think about all of the other bodies out there; all of the other lungs filling and expelling air. I imagine what it must be like for other people to be alive, to be human. And though I cannot fully put myself in someone else’s shoes, I can empathize with what it means to suffer, to struggle. I can appreciate each story. For, it is within these stories that we expand our own individual experience, where we broaden our scope on what it means to exist in an imperfect world, and where we begin to deconstruct what we believe to be absolute.
We live in a scary time that is seemingly devoid of compassion. I’ve read books that suggest we’ve moved away from compassion because we no longer need it; that compassion is embedded within our genes, and was once needed for survival, but now that we live separately, away from our tribes or clans or families, we don’t need to carry this obsolete trait with us. Perhaps it’s too heavy? Perhaps it slows us down as we trek upward toward technology, or wealth? Maybe it allows us to blindly walk toward what benefits us on an individual level? Fuck everyone else, right? We’ve got to leave that baggage behind to get ahead.
I argue that we need compassion in order to survive, even now. No, we don’t need it to protect our loved ones from natural threats like bears (most of the time), but we do need it to protect ourselves and the 7.53 billion other human beings on this planet from extinction. It has become quite obvious that our lack of compassion has destroyed the earth and much of the life that resides here. It is also clear that our lack of compassion has created war (both domestic and international), mass shootings, greed, and the “othering” of individuals who are intrinsically different than us.
We are so painfully disconnected. We are engrossed in social media, which gives the illusion of connection, but it really just pulls us further from one another. And as we continue to pull away from one another we begin to lose the thread that unites us, we continue to unravel the very fiber that makes us human, and without it we are merely parasites infesting a once gorgeous planet, destroying the only place that sustains us.
So, where do we go from here? Well, we harness the good in the world. We move forward with intention and love. We remain real in a world that feeds off the fake. We engage in an open dialogue about the state of the planet and the human beings that reside on it. We accept and admit to our own shortcomings. We strive for growth.
How do you show compassion in your community? Please feel free to share your questions and comments below.