We Are All One...

"We all live within the same illusion and are, in our own way and in our own time, trying to understand the truth behind it all. Some may not be looking at the moment or even in this particular life, but ultimately we will all wake up from the dream and remember who we really are. Ultimately, we will all become one..."

- Aaron Hutchins

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts About Compassion

I've been pondering this question about love for some time now. Not just any love, but the kind of love that drives people to have compassion for complete strangers. I think as children we start out this way, but life can often throw us for a curve. The sheer experience of the environment that we're born into, what we're told and the paths that we choose, often shape us in ways that we couldn't have prepared ourselves for and we forget about that love that seemed to come so naturally to us in the beginning.

I spent many years myself living in what I thought of as hostile environments and situations. I went to these places with a real heart for others, along with, a beautiful sense of humor and all the excitement and fervor of a child. What I quite often found there though, were many angry, defensive, broken people who, more often than not, seemed to want to raise their fists or voices at others in anger, rather than extend their arms for a handshake or a hug. This, ultimately, caused me to find myself in a great struggle to hold on to that innocence and beauty of youth that I felt I had once carried inside, as I became worn down by my surroundings and my own personal trauma seemed to allow me to take in more and more of that negativity, with each passing year .

During those years, however, in the midst of much misery, I discovered that I possessed a very powerful gift. I found that I had an unusual propensity for subconsciously observing my environment, down to the most minute of details often times, and that through extreme empathy, I had been absorbing incredible amounts of energy from even the most subtle behaviors and emotions from people in my environment. I would walk into a room and see immediately that a person in the corner was sad, that another person was anxious, that another wanted to talk to someone, but was too shy or that someone was angry, whether I wanted to or not. I eventually began to realize that this incredible sensitivity had, in part, made my life quite difficult in the past and that, as with many gifts, this had the potential to create pure bliss and harmony in my world or complete chaos and destruction.

I would always feel quite saddened, disappointed or even upset by what I saw in these moments, as it always felt so powerful. Many times I would become so filled with another persons emotions, that I found myself unexpectedly mirroring those feelings, which frequently caused me to become so overwhelmed to the point of not being able to share anything with the world for days at a time. More recently in my life, however, I began thinking more deeply about this concept of true compassion in those moments and a love for all beings, which often reminds me of those bright souls who have found the way to make this happen in their lives. People like Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Jesus, The Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Joseph Campbell, Manly P. Hall, Desmond Tutu and countless others have chosen to bring that light to the world throughout history and the world is most certainly a better place for itThe Dalai Lama once said, "I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life, and my country is going through a critical period. But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laugher."

So, why should we reach out to people in this way, we might wonder? What has the world done for me? Why should we want to spread the light of compassion in a world that often seems unkind and, at times, saturated in darkness? Well, I think the answer lies therein. The greatest gift the world can give you is to reciprocate to you the love that you once planted within it as a seed. Without this, love can not grow in one's life. In this way, I think it's truly important that we try to show kindness to others. Even if we don't always particularly agree with other people's ideas and philosophies, I think the trick is learning that that's what makes us all unique. It's also what makes the world more interesting, whereas struggling against the world and the people in it only creates chaos in one's life. Compassion is the key. It's something that we can always use a little more of. Compassion breaks down all those obstacles that we have in life by first showing us that we only have obstacles because we have built up walls within. 

 This life can be quite short, especially when seen in light of the billions and billions of years of the existence of the universe. The billions of organisms within a single clump of moss are as much a part of that environment as billions of humans are a part of the planet earth, as much as billions of planets are part of a solar system, billions of solar systems are part of the galaxy and that billions of galaxies are part of the universe. So, what do we do with that mere snippet of time that we have here if we're not looking to make the most of it, if we haven't tried to accept people for who they are or if we haven't understood that we are all in this together? It seems to me, that instead of spending even one moment struggling against one another, that we might instead do better to try and make this life better for everyone and understand that we and everything in this vast universe are now...and have always been...one in the same thing.