Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.— The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran 1923
This is a tough subject. In social media, and in social circles, we like to impugn publicly those whom we believe have done others wrong. We have an attachment to the concept of justice and what it entails. However, there is often no compassion in this concept of justice. There is only a single focus on making just what has been “unjust.” This can be a very fragile subject, as intense emotions can be tied to any conversation that presents a different point of view than the one currently held by the majority – whatever majority you’re speaking to.
Compassion can be a complex subject. It requires a patience with yourself and your heart. It requires being willing to shine a light where we tend to forget that no light is shone… within each one of us. Though we often cannot see it for ourselves, having no compassion for others can point to our lack of compassion for ourselves. The simplicity of this statement can be obscured greatly by our determined single focus to make right all wrongs.
Compassion is a warm and loving embrace. And because it includes that word – love – we find it difficult to bring it to those nasty, painful places where we don’t think love can live. Compassion is not fragile. It can live in all kinds of climates, under all sorts of conditions. Compassion can thrive anywhere. We often don’t give it enough credit for its resilience.
We have compassion already. We have it for the people we love. We have it for those we believe need it the most. But for those who we feel do not fit the bill of what we consider moral or ethical, we withhold compassion. But we don’t discriminate. We do that with ourselves too.
If you cannot find compassion for the intensely emotional fights you’re in, you don’t have to start there. You don’t have to begin with your biggest obstacles. Start small. Begin where you can actually envision yourself with compassion. Begin with something small about you.
We all can have greater empathy, consideration, sense of redemption and resilience, and compassion for ourselves. We can apply this compassion to ourselves first, and in the application to ourselves, we can allow for whatever pathways open before us. Who knows what those will be?
Do we have to do any of this? No. We do not. There is nothing that we should do in this life, and nothing that we must do in our lifetimes. This applies to all aspects of life as well. Do you have to eat healthier? Must you eat healthier? You may say, yes. But is it true? Do you have to eat healthier, or is it a possible way of living that would allow for greater possibilities of feeling good in your body, knowing you’re doing something good for yourself and maybe even, longevity? Do you have to stop punishing your spouse for being the way they are? Or would it save your relationship and open a pathway for new communication and a new level of intimacy? You could keep punishing them. The consequence for that continued behavior might be them divorcing you. There are consequences for continued behavior. The same goes for choosing to constantly fight and punish others. That word, others, includes you.
There is always an opportunity to experience compassion. Compassion is born organically of healing wounds.
There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.— Anonymous
We have a great deal of pain when it comes to injustice. We are driven to fight our way to justice. However, there is a law that we deny when we fight something. The law says that wherever you put your focus and attention, that place, thing or how you view someone, a place or a thing grows. When you fight something, you keep your focus and your attention both on the fight and what you are fighting. Put simply, you are focused on what you don’t want. That is the opposite of the intention of the fight, especially when the fight is intended to eliminate the object being fought.
What we resist, persists.
You may not make peace with the greatest of your fights for injustice, or otherwise. You don’t have to. Life is a journey of thousands of steps. Choose what your steps will be.
But know that you can find your way to compassion and release of fights and fighting. You can make peace with that which has threatened you. When you find release (and relief), what you’ve made peace with no longer threatens you.
There is peace. It is here. Peace was here all along, waiting to be claimed. By you.
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