Speak out…with compassion

compassion1

Tough week, tough year, tough decade, tough century, tough world history for human rights. In our world today we are constantly faced with these injustices streaming into our lives from afar, as well as face-to-face. It can be overwhelming. It can feel defeating. It can make us fearful. It can make us very angry. What is the answer? Your voice. Speak out. Let it be heard. But how to be heard? We do not hear the words of people who speak out in rage and hatred. We only hear their rage and hatred, and not their message…which often fuels our own rage and anger. To be heard, I’m convinced we need to figure out a way to speak out from a place of compassion…so that we may fuel others’ compassion. Compassion? How can we be compassionate when we are facing injustice and hatred? We must. Because if we respond in kind to anger and hate, we will simply join it, become part of it, and it will grow. When we face it with determination to educate, to speak calmly and clearly, and to understand that it almost always emanates from a place of fear, we can disarm it with compassion. And when we do that, it is the compassion that will grow and not the hate. We will be strengthened by our compassion, rather than weakened by hate. I am not saying that this is an easy task. I am sure that there will be many that disagree with me. That’s OK. My opinion is not the only correct way to think, it is a way that works for me. I am not trying to push my agenda on anyone else, I just want to share it. I put it out there for others to consider and debate with me, so that they can form their own opinions. You see where I am going with this, right?

We must be cautious in thinking that everyone must agree with our point of view. We need to be careful about arrogantly asserting that our way is the only right way to think, feel, or act, even though we may feel that way down to our core. If we do not keep this in mind, we are doomed. Doomed to endless argument and struggle. When we hold onto the fact that we have a right and a duty to speak out about our perspective on an injustice that is occurring, but that we must educate and debate rather than demand and struggle, we will be able to move forward. When we focus on what we can do to practically change our world (write a blog, contact people in power, join a grassroots group, create a grassroots group) we become empowered. When we sit back and rail at the world in anger and disgust, we are victimized. Grab onto your power. Speak your own truth. Respond with compassion, and the hate you speak out against will shrink in comparison.

Rabbi Stephen Kahn, so eloquently wrote in a recent response to a hate filled speech, “We must create communities of compassion, justice and grace for each other.” Let’s do that. Let’s come together in compassion in response to injustice. Let’s create a better world by practicing compassion together, shall we?

May we all be filled with loving kindness
May we all be healthy and well
May we all be peaceful and at ease
May we all be happy

Let your intuition (and compassion) be your guide,
Sari Roth-Roemer, Ph.D.

 

Dr. Sari Roth-Roemer’s Compassion Meditation: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoFpJCdJfyw

Rabbi Stephen Kahn’s blog:

http://ongoingrevelations.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/a-response-to-pastor-steven-anderson-by-rabbi-stephen-kahn/

 

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. yosefmeged18 says:

    Thank you .. simple message and true. Compassion speaks best. Good reminder.

  2. Kim Fitzwarine-Smith says:

    Thanks Sari, am finding lots that resonates with me in your writings.Oftentimes the injustice is far away, and there seems little we can do to help. It’s important to recognize that the same fear that fuels injustice far away is at work in the people we meet every day, and we have it in our power to create either discord or harmony in the place where we are, depending on how we choose to be. As you say, it’s an incredibly powerful thing to have it in oneself to sow the seed of compassion.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Kim. I think that is beautifully put. What we choose to do in our daily lives empowers us now and can actually help us cope with all that is happening on a broader scale, as well. When we resonate with others on a compassionate level, we grow that compassion beyond ourselves. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to the post.

  3. Steven Argendorf says:

    These are some great ideas to live by. This extends to all aspects of life. If you feel like you were wronged in any situation, it is best to be rational, level headed, and speak with a tone that solves the problem rather than reacting and adding more wood to the fire. Anger and reacting only leads to more problems for yourself in the long run. It can actually make YOU the problem even though you’re the one who was wronged.

    1. Thank you, Steven. I so agree with you. We are all human and have natural reactive responses, but once we pass through that initial emotional reactivity and let ourselves connect to a place of compassion, we step out of the struggle and allow space for solution. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  4. Jenni Dall says:

    I like this!
    One thing I hve to add: our attempts to educate can easily jump to the front of our agenda (out of understandable eagerness/urgency to right injustices), but our listeners can usually only hear after they have been heard – and FEEL heard – themselves. So, I find, listening compassionately usually comes before speaking our own point of view, if we are to make a difference.

    1. Love it! I agree completely, Jenni. I was having a tangential conversation in a LinkedIn forum…empathy is certainly a precursor to compassion. When people feel heard they are much more likely to be able to hear in turn. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

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