If we genuinely want to end hatred, bigotry, racism and abuse, if we genuinely want to bring real change to the world, then there is only one place to begin. We have to stop the war within ourselves by opening our hearts to ourselves and to all others, equally, for there will never be peace if we are not at peace with ourselves.
We have a photograph at home of Bishop Tutu with his hands together in prayer position. Underneath it are his words, ‘Please make it fashionable to be compassionate’. That photograph is many years old yet his words are even more relevant today. Is it not time to make compassion fashionable, to make kindness cool, to make consideration and care – hot topics?
We can do this and we have to. We’ve already proven that war does not work, that fighting and killing in the name of religion, to wipe out an enemy, or to claim control never has a happy ending. Always there is suffering and anguish and continued pain. The dualistic belief that there is an ‘us’ and ‘them’ causes an endless no-win situation, blanketing our minds with ignorance.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method, which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King
We have come far in our development but now we have to add to the technological wonders we are capable of by including the qualities of the heart, the one piece that is missing. There is enough suffering in the world already.
It is time for a revolution to revive fearlessness, courage, compassion and love so we can break through the differences that separate us and cause so much loneliness and fear.
A revolution is a re-evolution, it is the willingness to take a higher step in the evolution of consciousness. It is also a revolving, a turning around of ourselves in response to an inner calling. In this case it is the turning from selfishness, self-survival and closed heartedness to sharing, tenderness and open heartedness. It is a shift in emphasis. From being consumed with fears, doubts and insecurities, our greatest joy comes from caring for each other.
If we get stressed we tend to close our hearts toward others. We have a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude—nothing matters but our own little world. By developing a more loving and caring attitude, we find more joy and certainly less stress.
Every time you feel rushed, irritated, annoyed or upset, sit quietly and silently repeat: May I be happy or May I be filled with loving kindness.
If you can do that for one day then the next day silently say May you be well or May you be happy to each person you see or meet. You do not have to tell them—just feel it in your heart. You can do this to people in an elevator, at work, in the street or at home.
The next day, silently repeat May you be filled with loving kindness when your partner or boss is upset or angry with you, or when someone is criticizing you. The more you do this, the more you release the hook inside yourself so that anger doesn’t affect you.
If a day feels easy, try a whole week. Let friendliness and kindness grow within you. Make it your goal to become a more loving and kinder person.
Ed and Deb Shapiro have been teaching and writing about meditation for over 30 years and are the authors of over 20 books. Their latest is The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation and The Art of Mindful Relaxation. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in over 20 languages. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com.