I just finished a year-long Compassion Tour around the United States asking people to write their concept of compassion in a notebook. I also did numerous interviews, discussions, Q-&-As, and one-on-one “street therapy” sessions with spiritual seekers in over a dozen communities. After finishing about a week ago, I’m now resting, reflecting on the experience as I move forward to the next stage in bringing awareness to compassion. I write this particular blog in response to a few questions posed via an online posting….
Right now I’m writing a book about the experience which will include a portion of the anonymous entries from each community, the day to day anecdotal stories and experiences, and the spiritual growth that took place within. Also, other places invited me to spend a few weeks in their city/town, so I am considering that in the future as part of the continuance of the tour. It will be less of a “tour” moving from one place to another and more of establishing a base, visiting somewhere, then returning back home. At this moment, I’m grateful for the experience and also getting back to regular healthy eating habits and exercise.
These are the plans. But really, who knows what’s next?
What have you discovered about compassion?
I believe compassion to be recognizing essence. From touring, I witnessed the extent to which compassion is needed. In every community I visited, I met people who were eager to share their suffering, which made me think that if this person can sit down and within minutes start sharing his/her woes, how much dormant suffering is really going on in the life and minds of most human beings? People would tear up within minutes of sitting next to me, sometimes even without me saying anything; just knowing I came in the name of compassion was enough.
I would notice people saying something to the effect, “You showed up exactly when I needed this the most.” There were many serendipitous moments like this: the man whose father just passed, another man giving me a ride to a talk who sought inner peace, the security guard experiencing a midlife crisis. I hear this all the time and it usually goes along with, “I don’t know why I’m telling you this.” All this happened during the first five years at the corner in Davis and continued to happen across the country during the tour.
The healing power of listening—what a gift to offer another. I truly, truly believe most of the suffering in the world can be alleviated by simply listening to one another. Just take a few minutes to let go of whatever you are doing and listen to someone. The space you create becomes the opening for the person to express himself/herself. The larger the heart-space, the more suffering that will be alleviated.
How has your perception of reality changed?
I am; I know that. I remembered this during a few weeks of surrender in early 2009. Now, it’s a more intense knowing. The tour expanded my mind and heart in many ways. I experience Unity such that “I” and “Unity” exist without separation, solely as oneness. I am more aware of this presence and its effect on other people. I respect it, utilizing it to bring awareness to love and compassion as best I can. I lower myself to that higher Self, knowing there is so much more that I don’t know than I think I do know. I know compassion to be a continuous learning process, an infinite road to recognizing essence.
As always, feel free to leave a reply or comments in the space below. I’m always grateful to know what other people think.