Compassion? No, sorry I’m too busy...

CompassionI was listening to Daniel Goleman on TED talks (iphone version - it’s great). It was a talk about compassion. He starts off talking about a study that was done, I won’t go into the specifics, but a group of theological students were asked to give a pratice sermon and they were given a topic. Half were if given the parable of a good samaritan. The rest had random bible topics. One by one they were asked to go to another building and give their sermon. On the way, each of them passed a man who was bent over and moaning, and clearly in need. Did it make a difference that they were contemplating the act of the good samaritan and how many stopped. It didn’t! What determined who would stop - was how much of a hurry they thought they were in, they felt that they were running late, or they were caught up in what they were going to say. So even in the proces of talking/thinking/writing about compassion, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are.

Are we really too busy to be compassionate people? Are we too busy to hold other people’s suffering not to mention our own?

Do we stop to help the elderly even if we are in a hurry, do we hold the door for disabled people, do we donate money to people in need and do we feel true compassion for others? Or do we keep running and say "I'll do it next time around"?

What are we waiting for and running towards? And is this the trend of today? Waiting for and running towards the right moment to be; compassionate, have children, a partner, get married, do something nice for others and yourself, feel happy, lose weight, give a compliment, take action, take NO action, sit down and look at the children we might have found time to have, giving a hug, forgiving, loving, letting go.

We are waiting for a right moment that is constantly passing. We have the opportunity now, and are we present in the now to take it?

We don't have to go anywhere else to find compassion. Not to a Himalayan monastery or even a meditation retreat. We don't have to sit at the foot of a guru or stand on our heads. We won't find compassion in a book or a blog or an inspirational quotation. There is only one place to practice compassion: the one you're in. You can never leave this place, but you can turn it inside out. Do you want to live in friendship or fear? Paradise or paranoia? We are each citizens of the place we make, so make it a better place. Karen Maezen Miller

Thank you Karen you said it for me.