The Heat of Compassion

“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.” ~Gandhi

There is a heavy, heavy weight bearing down on me. I know I am not alone. Many are speaking out, taking action. Some of you are feeling paralyzed and lost.

Choices, relationships, thoughts and the words we use have great power. When we come up against one of these and experience uncertainty, fear, hesitation, we have to pause and take a moment. We have responsibilities. We are the protectors of each other and of the world…of Earth.

“The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in the hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love.” ~Parker J. Palmer

For many of us these last two weeks have been difficult to understand. It looks and feels so much like hate and ignorance “won”. Many of us are experiencing doubt on many levels. Despair fills us. And many of us feel a deep pain for so many in our communities and around the world who are under various threats. Threats many of us will never feel or know.

We must learn to hold our doubt, despair, and pain—until we can reclaim our belief, our hope, our love.” ~Parker Palmer

We have to choose to hold on to each other with more hope, more faith and more love. We cannot let hate and fear take root any deeper than it has already. As the Southern Poverty Law Center says in it’s Ten Steps to Fighting Hate, “It is time to move from prayer to action.” And millions of people are doing this.

A new kind of warrior is being born. Compassion and insight their only weapons. The concept of the Shambala Warrior teaches us that compassion “provides the fuel, it moves us to act on the behalf of other beings.” We need insight “into the dependent co-arising of all things.” It is about what is in our hearts. We are interconnected. All life is a web.

“But insight alone can seem too cool to keep us going. So we need as well the heat of compassion, our openness to the world’s pain.

The Bhagavad Gita (5th-2nd century BCE) is the story of Arjuna facing this exact situation. Counseled by Krishna, Arjuna comes to face his “warrior” duties to protect and uphold “cosmic law.” He struggles with his own fears and doubts, but in the end finds the courage and strength to embark on selfless action for the welfare of others.

This was the guiding principle Gandhi followed.

Insight is growing. A fire has been set. The heat of compassion is alight.

We see it everywhere. Take action. Speak up.

**Check out this week’s reading: This week

2 thoughts on “The Heat of Compassion

  1. Thank you, Kathy. You express what so many are feeling during this significant time in our history. A challenge, I think, to all of us to hold those paradoxes. My heart is heavy for those in our country that have been the target of the hate language and actions. And you are right, the compassionate heart must step into action now. Thank you. Marcia

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