Compassion in a World of Idiots: Seeing with the Eyes of Spirit

It is not easy making it through the day with a peace of mind.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

The following I wrote in June of 2019. Nothing has changed.

I sit at my desk at my computer, scrolling through the news as I do daily. When I teach, I do so later in the day; however, today is the weekend, and after an extended meditation, I begin my perusal. I read about another rant of the president, another killing, a baby thrown away in a plastic bag, the first fire of summer in California, and some banal article about what some reality star was wearing (or not wearing, more like it). I felt a bony hand on my shoulder. My breathing stopped.

DISCIPLE: Is this it? Has my time come?

YAMA: What? Oh, no, I was only practicing. A little heads up, I guess you might say. Did I scare you?

DISCIPLE: Well, let’s just say I was startled. To go out this way, sitting at my computer, would not exactly be a foreseen t event that would cause my death. It’s not like I was base jumping in a wingsuit.

YAMA: Are you sure reading the news is less dangerous than jumping off a cliff? Were you monitoring your blood pressure rising? What emotional reactions were you experiencing?

DISCIPLE: Today, I have been able to read with equanimity. But that’s because I had an extended deep meditation.

YAMA: What about usually?

DISCIPLE: Well, without meditation, I can get a little worked up, especially of late. Integrity is so important in my life, and every day I read about a president who has no inkling of what truth is and spins his version of reality, like some monstrous spider, around his and his followers’ eyes. It is unbelievable. I know politicians often swim in a sea of deception and big business and their interests, but we are now at a new level.

Just the other day, that ass of a president —

YAMA: Ahem, how is your blood pressure now? You see, reading the news is a dangerous sport.

I took a deep breath and smiled.

DISCIPLE: Wow, that was a rapid descent.

YAMA: So why do you read the news?

DISCIPLE: My son often asks me that, saying I am spending too much time on the computer, which is his comeback when I push him off it to do something non-media based. I do it because, as a Waldorf teacher, I have made it my daily practice to be aware of the world around me, to be informed by it.

Before taking this path, in my more sadhu way of life, my focus was far more inner. Rudolf Steiner extolled his students to become aware of the outer and the inner, the former so you can interact and speak the same language of those who are more worldly focused.

But I admit it is becoming harder to read the news without getting riled.

YAMA: Why?

DISCIPLE: Why? The news seems to be getting worse day-to-day. We have a president who, frankly, is bereft of a few marbles; and the few marbles he still has, just spin around and rattle in his head. Daily he gets backed in a corner as some new lie or deceptive action becomes uncovered.

And he just happens to have his finger on the button of world destruction. Wouldn’t that be an effective way to deflect public attention?

And then there is climate change with its extreme weather events and the rapid extinction of a million species of life.

How about the growing number of homeless in our streets, or those on the verge, one medical event from joining the masses, while the billionaires and millionaires still find more ways of adding to their wealth.

It is a crazy mess.

YAMA: So it seems. But has it not always been a mess? What you are describing is the end of the world — the apocalypse. Yet has there not been these cataclysmic times throughout human history? These times come. Why?

To awaken.

Every time I tap a body and take their awareness to another level of consciousness, there is an awakening — for those who are now journeying forth and for those left behind. The earth is dying and is moving to another level. Humanity is dying as well and moving on.

Those old paradigms that have ruled the world do not fit into the earth’s transformation. 

Humanity is in a death rattle, and all those attributes of the power-over system are making one last attempt to hold on.

But the rattling is getting louder, and they are getting more scared.

DISCIPLE: Do you mean to say humanity is going to die?

YAMA: Even with Atlantis and other world cataclysms, humanity survived. Maybe not in high numbers, but enough to start things over.

DISCIPLE: But so many people were destroyed and will be destroyed if it happens again.

YAMA: Destroyed? You forget to see with my eyes and those of us who look onto the earth with the eyes of Spirit. You are speaking from the perspective of the eyes of decaying bodies. From that perspective, everything is fearful.

From my perspective, nothing is fearful, for nothing is lost, only energy transformed into other forms.

DISCIPLE: If I look at those who are suffering in these times with that lofty vision of Spirit, as you say, do I not risk becoming cold and removed, of becoming non-human?

YAMA: Surely, as you walk in the world of time, there is a danger of becoming cold and distant; if you see every suffering being as just part of a process, that they should just shut up and accept their fate. You would not be human. You would be a pseudo god, falsely believing you sit on Mt. Olympus. You would lose your humanity.

But to go around in fear and to rage against the times, shouting the sky is falling, you lose your humanity as well. To be human, you must stand between these two poles.

DISCIPLE: Please elaborate on standing between these two poles and being human.

YAMA: Acknowledge the suffering of those you meet, or about those you read. Say to yourself or to those you can personally, if appropriate: You are experiencing suffering.

Breathe their suffering into your heart, hold it there. Then exhale the wisdom of knowing that Spirit cannot suffer, to fill their being, to help them get through these challenging times.

And look for opportunities to make the world a better place to ease the suffering. Look for those chances to show cooperation — which is the new paradigm — not that of competition.

DISCIPLE: Okay, I understand that and do that from time to time. Yet, what about the rage against the stupidity and greed of our leaders?

YAMA: Are they not suffering? Has there been one such leader who has not left their scabs and blood strewn upon their path, whose wounds are still raw, flayed by others who themselves were flayed? Not one.

You are all the walking dead until you wake up to the Eternal Life of which you all belong and verily reside.

DISCIPLE: You are asking me to show compassion to all beings, even those who are idiots.

YAMA: Compassion is how you become human. An idiot, as you charmingly say, is but a foolish and stupid person. And what is more ridiculous than not to be who you indeed are?

So the next time you read the news, make sure you are not acting like an idiot that you accuse the others of being so.

I smiled sheepishly and bowed to my teacher. I went back to reading the news, breathing the pain and suffering of a brother raging about someone or another. And I reminded myself that all is well.

--Janaka Stagnaro

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