Compassion: The Bridge Between Our Hearts

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
~  Thomas Merton
By Dennis Merritt Jones, D.D.
Author of
THE ART OF BEING, 101 Ways To Practice Purpose In Your  Life

What words can possibly be spoken to address the unspeakable. The January 11, 2010, magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti has left most of the world at a loss for words. Natural calamities like this are never easy to understand. How is it that life and the universe can appear so beautiful one moment and so brutal the next? Yet, life will go on as it has for millennia. What baffles me the most is that it too often requires this magnitude of human pain and suffering to get the world's attention.

What is encouraging to note is that in spite of (and perhaps because of) all the pain and loss, each time we have a 'natural' disaster there seems to be a deepening of the awareness of the interconnectedness of all people inhabiting this planet. Perhaps that is because there is something within each of us which knows that at the level of Spirit we are all one and, perhaps, equally as vulnerable. We feel a sense of connection not only with the countless thousands who have died, but also with others who now are left homeless, parentless, childless, broken and in utter shock.

Something is stirring in the soul of humanity and while some may not know that's what it is, millions of human beings are awakening to a sense of their unity with others and something larger than themselves. The results are manifesting as acts of compassion and generosity that we seldom see on a global basis; there is a vibration of common brotherhood being felt. The awareness of this interconnectivity is rising in the consciousness of our species now and shocking events such as the Haiti disaster only quicken the vibration.

"You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion."

Because the source of this tragedy was Nature rather than man, individuals, governments, religions, countries, and organizations from various corners of our world are connecting for a common purpose. A true call to compassion transcends borders, boundaries, economies, color, religion and politics. So, perhaps from the epicenter of this natural catastrophe some good for humankind can possibly arise. Because of this tragedy we can bear witness to the heart of humanity once again opening and beating stronger than ever, building bridges that span oceans and continents. This sort of bridge can supersede language, religion and cultural barriers, because it connects hearts with hearts.

This is one of those times where we can see the very best of ourselves and others emerge through the very worst of crisis and misfortunes. It's about compassion, loving-kindness and generosity of the Spirit. Meister Eckhart summarized it so beautifully when he wrote, "You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion." Let us continue to be bridge builders by extending the best of ourselves to others long after this crisis passes. Remember that compassion and generosity is something we can practice every day, not because we should, but because we can -- it's hardwired in the nature of our being. If what is  happening on the other side of the planet is too wide a gap for you to bridge, perhaps you need look no further than a street corner in your own town to build a bridge of the heart. There is great wisdom in the saying, 'Think globally, act locally.' Be a bridge builder today and don't wait for a crisis in the world to be reminded that you are the one who makes a difference.

Peace, Dennis Merritt Jones, D.D.
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