Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Creating A Compassionate World

Yesterday I lost focus of all the good that people do – and all the good I do.

Yesterday, in writing about the need to extend compassion to the people of Dafur, I wrote not from a feeling of empowerment – from a “come on, we can do something about this” perspective – but from a position of shaming.

While it was not clear to me at the time I wrote my blog, I was basically saying: shame on us.

It’s easy to understand why. We have a strong tradition of shaming in Christianity. Some Christians choose to believe that people are more bad than good and preach that we all must be shamed into behaving.

But shaming doesn’t work in the long run. Despite the tradition, look at all the Christians – 30 million of us by estimates – that are addicted to Internet porn.

No, shaming doesn’t work to create better people. Why? Because garbage in, garbage out. Convince people they are no good – that they are shameful and their true nature is sinful – and they will live up to your expectations and if not out in the open, then secretly.

I have seen too much of the beautiful – and the loving – in people to believe we are more bad than good. I am convinced that the core within each of us is love – not indifference – and that the core within each of us is God. It's just that God's shining light gets covered up with the muck of our thoughts.

So how did I fall into the trap of shaming? For instance, I am fully aware that people didn’t open up their hearts and wallets for the tsunami victims out of shame, but out of love. There is no shaming force on earth comparable to the love that motivated hundreds of millions of people into giving.

And I know that. So why did I slip?

It happened due to feelings of powerlessness. I read one too many stories about suffering and it was making me ill. I kept thinking: “I haven’t done enough,” but then wondered “what on earth more can I do?”

So I was frustrated and – as frustrated people do – projected. I projected my own feelings – that I am not doing enough to alleviate suffering – upon the world.

It’s understandable – and even justifiable – given how we’ve been taught to deal with moral problems by blaming others. But projection is just not helpful. It’s not helpful because it’s old paradigm thinking. It has me taking my attention away from what I want to see more of – compassion – to what I do not want to see – indifference.

And it – really – has nothing to do with others, but with my own fears about whether I am compassionate enough or doing enough or not.

Bottom line, projection is the rearing of that inner fear of not being good enough.

Volumes have been written on how people do not feel like they are ever good enough. But as Wayne Dyer and others teach, focusing on the problem only brings us more of the problem.

In other words if I focus on how I appear to be powerless and not accomplishing goals – if I see myself as unable to accomplish goals such as getting attention on solving the problems in Dafur – then I will keep on getting more of that.

Wayne Dyer has been traveling all over the country with his Power of Intention Tour.

Monday night – when I meant to be asleep – I woke up and, roaming about, turned on PBS. When I saw Dr. Wayne Dyer lecturing, I knew I was awake for a reason.

Dr. Dyer reminded me that God creates whatever we hold in our minds. If we are holding thoughts of lack, God’s energy has no choice but to create lack for us. If we are holding thoughts of prosperity, then God’s energy has no choice but to create prosperity for us.

Likewise if I’m holding thoughts that no one cares about Dafur – and I am powerless to help those people - then guess what? I’m contributing – in consciousness – to the atrocities that are happening.

Now I know this. But you know how you can “know” something and still ignore it?

The solution would have been to write about Dafur while telling myself - and you - that I believe in you; that I believe in the goodness and compassion of my fellow Americans and that we are going to act and help for the people of Dafur is imminent.

I didn't take that approach, if you've read my blog.

So God, in His great Wisdom did two things for me. He knows I want to be of greatest service and that my goal is to help alleviate suffering.

So the message to me was: Oh, no you don’t, Clyo. You get your mind off thinking those hopeless thoughts and onto something positive. You’re being part of the problem and I need you to be part of the solution.

That’s why He prompted me to tune in and watch Wayne Dyer – to remember that the best way to grow compassion is to focus on all the compassionate people in the world who are actively making a difference.

Then, as part of a “one-two hug,” God “arranged” for me to get an e-mail – out of the blue this afternoon – from the M.I.S.S. Foundation, “a nonprofit, volunteer based organization committed to providing emergency support to families in crisis after the death of their baby or young child from any cause,” which was “established to help families cope with the resultant feelings of overwhelming grief and loss.”

At M.I.S.S. I learned that more than 120,000 children die every year in the United States and, of those, more than 80% die before their first birthday.

Imagine. We have hundreds of thousands of people today – parents, siblings and grandparents – who are walking wounded and in real pain due to loss of a child. And a year is nothing when you’ve lost a child. I have a friend who cried at his daughter’s grave thirty years to the day that she died.

The founder of MISS knows that all too well, having lost a child.

So MISS's mission statement is: “That our program will serve to strengthen families when a child has died and help to reduce the number of child deaths that occur through public awareness and education campaigns. No family should have to endure the pain of a child family member's death alone: MISS is committed to the memory of the children who lived, who died, and who continue - even in death - to matter.”

If you go to the Family Support page, you’ll find links to their Missing Angels Newsletter, Photo Gallery, Memorial Quilt, Cherish Corner and so much more. But that’s not all. Take a look at the “Kindness Project.”

In the Kindness Project, parents remember and honor their lost children by performing random – and anonymous – acts of kindness. To let the recipients know the act was done in memory of a beloved child, a kindness card is sent or left with the gift.

As of last December, 500,000 of these cards had been delivered around the world – along with 500,000 acts of kindness.

Amazing, isn’t it? Is it not beautiful and awe-inspiring that such compassion and love exists within the hearts of those so scarred by loss?

But they are beautiful beings. As are we.

As human beings, we have unlimited capacity for love and compassion. So that’s what I’m going to keep focusing and re-focusing on.

No more shaming. Because we all deserve to live in a compassionate world.



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