Compassion and Faith


Leo Babauta wrote an amazing reflection on the past election.  The author’s advice is to feel compassion for other people who may have voted differently from me.  I would also emphasize the importance of faith.  Not the dismissive “it’s going to be OK” or the religious “God uses unlikely people to do His will” type of faith.  But the faith in the principles on which this country is founded.  These principles are at work right now.  Watch in awe.

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9 thoughts on “Compassion and Faith

  1. I recently had a falling out with a very old friend. We reached a heated impasse during a discussion of something important, and it became clear that our world views were in some ways utterly different. I had to enforce a cooing off period of a month before I was ready to speak to him again. I’m glad that I cooled, otherwise I might have said something that would have broken our friendship forever. Instead I reminded myself why we had been friends for 30 years in the first place, and that we had far more in common than not.

    He’s still completely wrong about that one thing though 🙂

      • Aren’t humans inclined to reductionism? Substitutions in the evolutionary equation of what represents survival and what represents demise. What’s happened recently is the dangerous entry of personal identity into that equation. Whenever that’s happened historically the results have been very bad.

        • The sense of identity is dangerous, indeed. It involves drawing a line between “me” and “not me”, “us” and “them”. Inevitably, the very existence of “them” is considered a threat to “us”. It’s a dangerous worldview. And it’s multidimensional. It divides nations and divides people inside a nation as well. The only people who benefit from cultivating this worldview are authoritarian leaders.

  2. That Leo chap has an amazingly successful blog, and I read that at one point in time it was one of 50th. most visited websites in the world. Lots of people reading his advice, but not so many putting it into practice? Maybe that’s unfair, but no one in the blogosphere seems very positive about politics since Brexit and Trump.

    • I just discovered him yesterday while searching for some productivity “how to”. What he writes strikes me very close to home. His blog offers what I need – the advice on how to make the life simple and enjoyable, how to navigate out of the complexity and the overload from all sides. There are plenty of “life coaches” these days who either don’t practice what they preach or appear to have a completely different life situation from mine. Most of their advice is usually dismissed as irrelevant to me with “he doesn’t have four children” (like I do) remark. Well, Leo has 6, and if you read his list of life accomplishments since 2007 – it’s very impressive. Simplicity is what I need: one folder to organize the email, three things to do each day, and minimal mental and physical baggage.

      Some things he advises have occurred to me or have worked for me in the past. E.g., rising at 4 in the morning was the only way for me to finish my master’s thesis while working a 9-5 job. By 8am, when other people are just starting their day, you can have 4 hours of work done in a most productive way. Perhaps, I will not go vegan, but I’m definitely going to read some more and do a little soul-searching.

      • Good for you, Agrudzinsky, and I think I have some sense of what you speak of, in that I once needed to simplify and clarify what my life was about, and discover what direction I wanted to take it in. That resulted in me thinning-out my business interests quite radically close to 30 years ago, in part to balance that working life with other interests, and in part to find time for retreating, which I did 6 or 7 times a year at a Buddhist monastery – silent weeks, 8 hours meditation a day, over a period of some 25 years. I think Leo is more or less Buddhistic isn’t he? Anyway, I ended up retiring in my mid-fifties, really finding the harsh edges of the commercial world no longer suited me at all, and not really needing the money. It wasn’t that I was particularly wealthy by English standards, but I knew I could get by, and I do live a very simple, and hence inexpensive, existence. I live on my own in the Somerset countryside, never having been married, but I have grandchildren and familial commitments too. There’s usually a way of rebalancing one’s life when one sees the need to do so, and in any event it seems to make sense to at least appraise what one is about rather than ploughing on blindly on the basis that seems to be the done thing – a pretty good way of finding oneself in an early grave, it would appear from what I’ve seen around me.

        • His site is called “Zen habits”. I suppose, there is some connection with Buddhism, but I have not seen any references that he is a practicing Buddhist. Most likely, it’s about the life philosophy of simplicity and practices of clearing up the mind and space.

          Along with the concept of “net worth”, there is a concept of “time worth” defined as the time one can comfortably live on his savings if all sources of income disappear. Imo, time worth is more valuable than the net worth.

          I, probably, will not go as far as spending months in a monastery meditating 8 days a week, but I would really like to simplify all aspects of my life.

  3. That’s exactly right. Faith. God’s got everything under control. All we have to do is listen, and as you said, have compassion for others and the choice they made. We all believe what we believe for a reason, and voted for a specific person based on those beliefs. We have not worn the shoes of others that led them to their reasoning. Therefore, everyone should be respected, regardless of who they voted for.

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