Love Letter to the World – Compassion
This past Sunday, I posted a collection of other friends’ thoughts on the meaning of compassion. Originally, the idea was to write an essay on the topic of compassion. However, when I read responses from friends, it’s clearer than ever that the word “compassion” is more than a word, topic, or idea. Compassion is a way of being; a way of living in the world.
What can I add more to the beauty of the words that my friends shared from the depths of their hearts? Compassion is first and foremost a motivator from the heart, the seat of emotion. What if you are more of a head person than a heart person? The ancients believed that wisdom lay in the place of the head AND heart.
For the ancients, wisdom was a gem to be sought out above all else. That meant that the heart people needed to also think, but that the mind people needed to also listen to the heart. Where do we find wisdom? How can we learn to trust?
In a pause from writing the letter, I check my email. One of the emails talks about “The Jewish Happiness Prayer.”
“The Jewish happiness prayer, as we will see below, promotes flourishing. It is the happiness experienced through a life of meaning and purpose… The prayer contains ten actions in total, which I have translated as follows:
These are the deeds with infinite benefits.
A person enjoys their fruit in this world,
and in the world to come. Guide me in embracing these sacred practices:
Honor those who gave me life
Invite others into my home
Be there when others need me
Celebrate life’s sacred moments
Support others during times of loss
Pray with intention
Forgive those who hurt me and seek forgiveness where I have others
Commit to constant growth.
This is what I was trying to say. The prayer interpretation is a simple way of looking at the good we CAN do now. These are things each one of us can do when in quarantine or while wondering about elections. There are bad things in this world yes. But there IS beauty, kindness, goodness and you have it in your hands to spread that message and that power.
- Compassion as a Way of Life