Compassion as a spiritual exercise; day 19 of Ramadan

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

If you didn’t know already, the weather globally has been a bit topsy-turvy this summer. We’re in the midst of a weather event known as El Niรฑo, and depending on where you’re at globally it might be warmer or colder or wetter or drier than usual. With that being said, in my part of the weather it has been a very very wet summer.

Subsequently a good portion of the activities with my students have been onsite. There have been warm summer days, and so I do what I can to play with my students in the park or simply walk around our building for a period of time.

Today didn’t seem like it was going to rain and so I thought I’d have some time to do some outdoor activities with my students…so I thought, but during our time out in the community it started raining, not a lot, but enough to cancel any outdoor activities once we returned. One of my students was alarmed and frightened by the thunder and lightning, and so he vocalized it and a short while later I went back to the unit with him for remainder of the school day.

Compassion by definition is the “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” I believe I have within me a good deal of compassion to put out there to others, I have an intuitive nature and a good sense of communication via body language, and thankfully I have a job where if a student is feeling unsafe I can help get her or him out of the classroom in a pretty timely matter without any fuss from the teacher I work under or our mutual superiors.

I want to live life intentionally and compassionately, to be aware of the needs of others and doing what I can to help them out. I realize that I can’t address everyone’s needs nor can I reach everyone for that matter, but still I want to be able to help out others tangibly in community.
Acting compassionately and meeting the needs of others is one of the central things tied to my belief system as a Red Letter Christ-centric Universalist, because there are a lot of things that point to Jesus doing as well as being during his time spent here on earth.
I used to have the mindset that I would help others out when I was fiscally in the black, that I wouldn’t be hurting when I did give of my resources. Yet, and I do believe it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I went against that perspective because I realized that I would never truly be in the black given my field of work and that my resources didn’t only pertain to money but also my gifts and also my time. I resolved then and there to give of what I have to others, to live semi-frugally, and to give what I have to others.
As of late I am doing what I can to live with even less than what I already have. It’s purifying in a way to assess what you have and what you can easily do without and then give it away to those who are in need, this act of compassion certainly is a symbiotic relationship between the giver and the receiver.

So with all that being said, compassion was my keyword on this 19th day of Ramadan. Thanks be to God, The Compassionate One, who extends his compassion upon humanity and helps us extend that compassion to others. May we not be stingy with our resources in this life, may we give unto others who are less fortunate than we are, and may we remember that our lives are not our own.

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,
Nathanael

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Morning Meditation 5.23.15

A friend recently asked me the following; “If someone told you they feel like they are going through a challenge and in their own garden of Gethsemane, how would you interrupt that?”

After some mulling it over, I formulated this answer.

“I wouldn’t, I’d listen.

Everyone goes through their own hell, everyone has a cross to bear, most people partake in creating and doing something divine, and some reflect and exclaim “this is very good”.

So if someone is going through their own garden of Gethsemane, I’d chalk it up as being part of the human experience.
We all have personal highs and lows, and perhaps suffering is the common denominator of all humanity. so for someone to go through that kind of event, their own garden of Gethsemane, is both human as well as divine. because as you know, Christ lived with us and he also died for us. I don’t see it as substitutional atonement, she (God) never was, but so often we have gotten in the way and we still do.

If the person is using the language of the garden of Gethsemane, then what you take? The one who responds by force? the one who runs off? The one who falls asleep? Will you take captive an individual who is suffering and agonizing because he/she is cut off from the source of life and love…or will you betray with a kiss?

What you choose to do is up to you. I wish you well and the decision you will make.”

You see, we (humanity) hurt in different ways, it’s an experience we all share even if the type of hurt varies from person to person. Our words aren’t always necessary, and it’s sometimes our presence that can make someone better or even bitter.
So therefore be deliberate in what you do; because in some way, for better or worse, it’ll make all the difference in the world to that person.

~Nathanael~