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:
Rabbi Stephen Kahn’s blog: