Guerilla Compassion

This morning I was reading comments on articles and my heart sank. I know the internet and social media have allowed for hateful and hurtful voices to speak out. This morning, still dark, one particular comment was just so sad. It was ignorant, bigoted, mean, unkind….it was very difficult to understand. Sad to think that first of all, maybe “we” are raising people who are so full of fear, hate and intolerance and secondly, that even if they function as kind, caring people they still speak their true hearts and minds on social media for all to read.

Last week I couldn’t even muster the energy to try to be a Shambala Warrior. The world at large had knocked me down. The political rhetoric of war, hate, violence, the greed, the anger, the desire for power and control, all of it, deflated me.

Then as usually happens, I read something that filled me up again.

walk4“Sharon Salzberg suggests we practice guerilla compassion — silently blessing people on line at the bank, at the supermarket, in the cars next to us in traffic. Each blessing a tiny Sabbath, a secret sanctuary offered to a hurried and unsuspecting world.”

Okay, I thought, I am going to do this. I am going to be aware of people. In that awareness I will offer a silent blessing to them. No matter who they are, or what they are doing. I will not hide under a veil of fear, of not noticing, not seeing, not caring. I will offer “May you have a peaceful day.” “May you have a happy day.” “May you be safe.” To those I want to shun or turn away from, discard,  I will not. I will offer “May you find healing.” “May you find hope.” “May you find strength.”

Why? Because I think it matters. I don’t know if this energy really goes out into the world and creates a change. I hope it does. I do know when I change my thoughts and actions I change on a profound level. If I begin to offer blessings to all the people I encounter during my day, first of all I see others, secondly I see them in a positive, hopeful light of possibility. Instead of sorting them by worthy or unworthy I see them as being worthy of compassion. If I forgo the judging, the lumping them in categories I see them as individuals not unlike me. We all have shared values, dreams, hopes, suffering and joys. If we do not see ourselves in others, even if it is one teeny tiny thing (sometimes it is so very difficult to find that teeny tiny common thing), we will become boxed in from life and the world by fear, indifference, apathy, judging. As individuals we loose. Collectively we loose. As a country and a nation we loose. As a world we suffer.

The thought that others passing by me during the day may be offering me a blessing is humbling. It is a wonderful thought. To be noticed, seen, respected, even in my failings and weaknesses, is healing. To think that someone who I don’t know understands we share many of the same dreams, hopes and feelings is comforting. Those things wrap me in the security of a shared human experience and reminds me I am not alone or unsupported.

I have a difficult time balancing the affairs of our world. The massive amounts of suffering and pain tugs mightily at my heart. The words of anger and threats and actions of violence makes my soul tense up and my spirit pale . I am one, but I am going to keep trying to do what my heart and soul tell me to do. This week I will focus on offering blessings to others all day long. I believe it matters.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”


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