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Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

“We become compassionate not from altruism which denies the self for the sake of the other, but from the insight that sees and feels one is the other.” ~Huston Smith

I want to write something and my heart just wants to put it out there while the fearful aspect of my mind suggests we may need some facts;  some hard core science. Well, I honored that second voice for a while, surfing the net and hearing all the criticism that might be tossed at me for quoting Greenpeace or for neglecting to do so. There is no way to be right here. So I’m dropping the right and returning to my heart.

Here’s what I experience. Compassion is born of an open heart. An open heart knows sorrow and joy in equal proportions. The more open the heart, the more sorrow and joy. That can be a wild open ocean sometimes, so we batten down the hatches of the heart and return to the safe harbor of the judging ego-mind. I know. I have a well-used slip in that harbor.

Sailboat copyright (c) Nov 2010 Kathy J Loh

Walking, yesterday, I was enchanted by the beauty of the day: birds singing their hearts out, trees dancing in the breeze, raptors soaring on thermals, blossoms raising their faces to the sun. Then, a wave of sadness came over me without explanation. My mind went through the files: lost love, who died, list of regrets, etc. But nothing, could explain the depth of this sorrow.

“It’s the sadness of the world.” I heard these words whispered in my ear. I heard them only in my heart. I don’t know how I heard them. I just did.

My thoughts ran defense: “What am I to do with the sadness of the world? Has it come to take up residence in me? What am I supposed to do? I don’t know how to fix it!”

My wiser self responded: “Know it for what it is and let it wash through. It’s the only way to keep the heart open. Don’t head for the dock.”

A moment later, I noticed sorrow had moved on. Or had it? Maybe it was just that my attention had been captured by an iris in bloom.

It’s all going on at once, this joy and this sorrow; Beauty in its splendor, all the currents of the heart’s seas.

An open heart is more receptive to the heart of cosmos, is an open channel for it, becomes it (and yes, that’s a double entendre.)

Sometimes I wonder if it’s true. Is there the original Divine Mind or Universal Intelligence of which I am a creative expression and as such I am both one with and separate from that Source?

If so, if it’s true, then I am the whale and the whale is me. I am the dolphin and the dolphin is me. For when I look upon nature, when I look upon others, I see myself and my heart sings with joy for what has been created. At the same time, my heart cries for what is being destroyed.

That’s what happened when I saw a certain video this morning. (I could not find a way to embed it here, but I can give you the link.) Without any interpretation, it’s a beautiful celebration of life, nature, planet and the music is as emotionally evocative as the film, if not more so.

Yet, in my state of mind (and heart) and in light of what’s happening, the dumping of toxic waste into the ocean, and radioactive rain falling into the Pacific because of the disaster at Fukushima, I could not help but think – (said with sarcasm, “Gee, I’m sure glad there’s a lot of ocean to take the radioactive waste before it gets to me in California. Thank God for that big blue hole out there where things can be buried, so that I don’t have to know they exist anymore.”

And what am I burying?

What happens when I dig it up?

What kind of courage does it take to keep the heart open in light of all the tragedy?

(Some would have me mention the human loss as well. Yes, I see it. Maybe I’m just not strong enough to go there yet. Maybe that’s your work and mine is with the wild wonder of Nature. I don’t pretend to know. I follow my heart.)

I watched this video and felt my heart open to the heart of the Source of all creation and the deep deep sadness for the potential loss of what “I” had created and what has pleased me for so long.

What have I created?

So here is a simple picture I took of spinner dolphins in Lanai. Below the photo is a link to the video. Please watch it and let it fill your screen, your heart and your consciousness.

This video shows sheer beauty.

YOU are sheer beauty.

It’s a big beautiful, mostly blue, planet and we are all in this together.

Dolphin copyright (c) Oct 2010, Kathy J Loh

Click the link below to watch the video. (Right click if you want to see it in a new window or tab. Otherwise it will pop you out of this blog post. )

http://www.facedl.com/fb/player/waPlayer.swf?VideoID=awuokwiawkioino

“And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void in any heart, so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up. -Charles Dickens

Copyright © April 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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Years ago, I had a breast lump aspirated and had to wait a few days for the results. Those days grew my compassion as I wandered about the grocery store and streets of town wondering what kind of news others might have recently received that had them seem so disconnected or disgruntled. I remember saying to myself, “You never know who just got a frightening diagnosis, word of someone’s death, or lost their job.”

My results were benign and I was greatly relieved. With the relief came a loss of memory, for compassion. Some of it stuck, but the frustration I felt with others on the road, in the shopping aisles returned. Old habits die hard I guess, but they do eventually die if we persist.

It’s also true that we never know who just received great news and is celebrating. When I am not feeling so great I can wonder about another’s happiness and even envy it some. Compassion teaches me to hold both the joy and the sorrow in the same cup.

Lately, I’ve been feeling compassion in a way that has me realize why I’ve found it so difficult to be with in the past. It’s not particularly comfortable.

I cried the other day as I watched a woman standing on a traffic island receive money from a stranger passing by in a car. She checked the bill several times, pocketed it and shuffled wearily back to her position.  I wondered about her, what journey she’d been on, what brought her to this point. It’s so much easier to judge than be curious. To be curious, to wonder, includes feeling into what might be happening over there. I don’t like feeling that. It hurts.

I cried yesterday when I saw a young guy being clueless and projected that he was not well educated, not particularly conscious (I don’t really know) and I thought of the world and humanity. I cried for the human condition. We try. We really try. I don’t like thinking about it. I don’t like how it feels. It hurts.

I cried today when a Jerusalem Cricket gave up the ghost. Spider bite? Age? I don’t know. All I know is that it hurt me to watch it wiggle all of its parts as its brain gave its final hard-wired instructions. I don’t like death. I don’t like losing people. I don’t like thinking about losses that will come. It hurts.

I’ve built a lot of protection between me and the pain I feel in the world. I’ve got rules, assumptions, avoidance techniques and no lack of judgment that create a wall around my heart. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that it hurts so much to feel it. And, feel it I must, beginning with my own stuffed-down emotions. As the heart cracks open, the ability to be with a full spectrum of emotions grows and I can still cry, but I don’t make it into another brick in my protective wall.

(If you are interested in growing your emotional capacity, keep an eye on Lucid Living. They are up to some amazing work and I’ve grown tremendously from my experiences with them.)

Karen Caterson (who writes a fun blog, by the way) shared this on Facebook today. I hope you’ll take the time to watch it and that it touches your heart as it touched mine.

Copyright (c) November 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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