I’m a little early with Tuesday’s NaBloPoMo post but I wanted to make it a J2P Monday post and to get it up ahead of the U.S. elections. In the run-up to the election I posted a challenge a couple of times, asking people to delve within and heal in themselves everything that upset them about these elections.
Now I want to just raise some thoughts about compassion and this process. Because what’s more disturbing to me than the vitriol in the candidates is the apparent lack of compassion and empathy among ordinary people ranged on both sides.
While I totally disagree with Trump, I understand that many of his supporters feel they’ve been left behind, excluded from the economy, disenfranchised… I don’t agree with many of their conclusions about how these problems have arisen or what the answers are. But I’ve been around long enough to know that the answers I stand by could just as easily be disproved next year; in other words, I am not God and I feel there’s a great deal of hubris in assuming my assessments are correct and those who disagree are stupid.
And whether I agree or not, I feel for their sense of disenfranchisement. I know it feels bad to feel left out and disregarded. I feel compassion for their pain. I hear a comment that makes me mad and drift away from my neutral space and compassion; it’s work to keep moving back there. For me that’s just part of the path I’m walking.
I know it’s not everyone’s path, but it concerns me that so few people seem to have any place in their hearts for anyone who fails to share their views. In the streams on social media and in the news I don’t get the sense that supporters of either candidate have an iota of empathy or fellow feeling about the people on the other side.
This growing inability to empathize with the feelings of people whose views are different is one of the biggest obstacles I can see to peace. If we can’t learn to feel compassion for people whose opinions don’t reflect our own how can we ever expect to reach a place of peace on earth?
It starts with me. It starts with you. When you open your heart enough to feel the pain of “the other” you take a first step. When you heal within yourself whatever keeps you from perceiving with the eyes of love and compassion, that’s a big step. Are you willing to step toward peace?