I see a lot of really wonderful people who struggle with the suffering in this world. This is of course only a sign of your empathetic connection to others. If we’re witnessing pain and we succeed in avoiding the creation of any judgments, then it’s quite natural to recall our own experiences of similar pain and therefore experience a very personal sense of compassion within ourselves.
The issue is, because modern society is addicted to critical over-thinking, people are turning an empathetic connection in one moment into a narrative that rides over top of many other unrelated moments. So when you’re at lunch with co-workers you can talk about science or nature or sports or business or your hobbies, so it’s important to recognize that discussions about the problems of the world are unhelpful, energy-tapping choices.
No one stopped a war from the lunchroom at work. But you can be gracious when a co-worker makes a mistake. You can be patient with people who don’t understand something as well as you. You can let people into traffic, give a compliment or do someone an unexpected behaviour. The world’s issues are due to the actions of the entire society. None of us controls society, but we can all take ownership of ourselves and then engage with our fellow Earthlings using compassion as a common connection.
It’s a great message from a wise man. Enjoy the video.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.