Friday, December 28, 2018

Compassion Is the Key

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
--Confucius

Imagine this:
  1. Someone buys alcohol for minors, they get busted and pay the thousands of dollars in fines, but later on they buy alcohol for minors again under peer pressure.

  2. Someone rapes another, they get arrested and do the prison time, but once out their stress of sexual frustration reaches “overload” and they again commit rape.

  3. Someone beats up others on the schoolyard, they get caught and sit through a week of detentions, but in fear of having their “tough guy” image tarnished, they go beat up someone else.
In all three cases, the offenders get caught once again. Everyone who hears of these incidents immediately call for revenge, for punishment.

“They did it once, they suffered the punishment, and now they’ve done it again. You’d think they’d learn,” people might say. “What idiots.”

I ask: How reasonable is this reaction?

A New Practice

Folks… I’d like you to start doing something.

When you hear of someone who offends others, commits crimes, or whatever way their negative actions might be described—especially when the offenses are repeated and grave—I’d like you to make the immediate assumption that the offender’s actions are driven by deep-seated trauma that has been repressed rather than healed.

The fact is, people have been guilty of all assortments of amazingly foolish and harmful things. But looking a bit further and seeing that someone has hurt another due to repressed trauma—rather than merely seeing idiots worthy of punishment—makes a tremendous difference.

Would the trauma not exist, no such offences would take place. It doesn’t happen that way because someone without the pain of internal trauma inherently and immediately recognizes how badly it hurts them to hurt others and how wrong it is, as well as how badly their negative actions hurt others.

Now more than ever, we need to see others through the lens of compassion.

Compassion is a developed trait, yes. But simply acknowledging the fundamental truth that unhealed trauma results in difficult-to-control and heavily distorted behavior means so much in dealing with adverse situations in a healthy manner.

Learning by Example

Currently, compassion and healing are hardly the first things on the minds of most people, but instead, revenge and punishment.

This is evident in the means by which society has been punishing people, whether with parents punishing their children or the federal justice system punishing criminals. The whole deal is rooted heavily in trauma-based programming.

The only reason a father (or mother) slaps his child is because he’d suffered the same trauma when he had been a child. Now empathically numb, slapping his kid is the only way the father knows to deal with misbehavior because that’s exactly what he’d been taught: “Violence is the answer.”

The only reason police beat the shit out of (if not kill) criminals (or suspected criminals, or even innocent people) and then send them to a for-profit prison system that, well, let’s just say, isn’t exactly a healing experience is because these “authorities” carry resonant traumas within them. They’d been bullied and abused as children, so they unconsciously seek jobs where they can legally express the violent urges roiling within them.

Responding Compassionately

What if we could see offensive activity as caused by repressed trauma rather than mere isolated acts of violence and perversity and the like? How different might our approach be?

A father could gently ask, “Hey, son, can we talk about what happened at school today? What thoughts and feelings made you kick your classmate’s science project across the room?” And then he could help his son dig deeper and resolve the cause of his pain without his son feeling like a complete sissy for expressing his emotions or speaking his truth. Healers could work with inmates to resolve their internal issues in order to lower prison violence and reduce the number of repeat offenders.

What if this could be applied to all aspects of life? Might not the stigma of “being imperfect” (in any of its countless meanings) be greatly lessened if we’d collectively stop judging the hell out of wrong-doers, mistake-makers, etc. and see them through the eyes of compassion? If we’d see offenders as traumatized rather than inherently and irreversibly damaged people? If we’d reach out with an open hand rather than turn away with a closed heart?

Judgment’s Implication

An individual’s capacity for compassion can be determined by how frequently and to what degree he or she is in judgment of others.

And what, really, does judging another say about one’s self?

Aside from, “I lack compassion,” judgment speaks of lack of self-awareness and wisdom. People judge because either
  1. they have never been in a position like the person they’re judging and therefore don’t understand it, or
  2. they have been in a position like the person they are judging and shame them in attempt deny the resonant repressed pain within themselves.
So in either case, people have no right to judge, to say anything at all, and would be better off keeping their mouths shut.

It’s impossible to judge without implicating one’s self in one way or another.

Best then to seek healing in order to live compassionately; in order to become like the father and the healers who don’t—who simply can’t—teach violence as an answer.

Healing

Regarding things great and small alike, we all judge. We do it so often, it is so normal, that most of us aren’t even aware how much we do it or that we are doing it at all in many cases.

But judgment is judgment is judgment, and judgment indicates a lack of compassion—something we could all use more of.

We would therefore all do well to heal.

I thus hope that in reading this you will inquire within as to how these statements apply to you and then make an effort toward healing.

At the level of the individual is where each of our life experiences begin and end, after all, is it not?

So why not give ourselves the best, so that we can give others the best, so that they can give us the best in return?

Compassion is the key.

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