Monday, May 2, 2011

Creating a culture of compassion

 I am sometimes struck by the violence inherent in our society, and it saddens me in ways that I can barely articulate.  From our slang to our entertainment, a callous violence permeates and taints nearly everything.  Our political leaders use violent metaphors, America wages war on terror, war on drugs, war on women.  Today, people are celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden with a vicious glee.  At school, my son was terrorized by another child who was pretending to kill him while playing "Black Ops".  I am constantly explaining historical violence to my children, in an effort to make them understand why some ideas are so important, but at the same time, I am cringing inside. Violence is everywhere.

I think the time is well past that we, as human beings, begin to create a conscious culture of compassion.  If we start, by making an effort to think about the violent words, images and ideas that we promote, I believe we can begin to tackle many of society's ills.  If we stop and think, "Am I harming anyone, including myself, with my actions?", could we begin to eliminate poverty, corruption, and bullying?  If violence ceases to be entertainment, can we recover compassion?  We must also think about the violence we do when we truly believe our own way of being or seeing of knowing our world is the only way.  Violence is not only physical, it is spiritual, it is intellectual.  It can, and does touch every part of our being.

If we seek to help those who need help, could we close most of the prisons? Could we, as a people, be stronger, and happier and healthier? I believe that compassion, to the Earth, to the environment, to all of the people of the world, is a viable path towards peace and prosperity for everyone, but it takes commitment at the personal level to do it.

I am begin to cull out the words of violence in my vocabulary.  I am questioning my actions, and I am teaching my children the same.  I invite you to join me in creating a culture of compassion.

P.S.  Check out to pledge to be more compassionate- today's challenge!

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