Recently coming to my attention were the words of an Asian cleric who made a plea to the world, to practice compassion, and urged us to not be conveyers of blame — on each other, on society — but look to ourselves as part of the problem. And therefore, if we all accept responsibility we can bring about change not only in ourselves but also contribute to change in the world. He went on to say that the fact we have “life” is a miracle from an unseen source.
Reflecting on this as one who has been privileged to have a life for a very long time, I ponder why we have abused it so, defiling it within ourselves and others by not being the best kind of people we can be. Having lived during an era when war took the lives of so many, I believe people then had greater respect for the sanctity of life.
While today there is, sadly, war taking place and lives being lost in another part of the world, we also have in society everyday wars taking place in the souls of humankind where lack of respect for the sanctity of life, where lashing out in anger, criticism and judgment, are now deemed as acceptable behavior.
Is it possible that instead of being critical, we can see the pain in the anger and discontent? Can we develop compassion for the hurt lying beneath the turmoil and live with the heart of respecting the precious gift of life?
I have great hope for the innate desire we all have to be happy, to be at peace, to live harmoniously with others. And I see this possibility when I read or see on TV some adults, young people, children, speaking out for human and environmental causes and taking action to bring about change. I think how remarkable this is when so many leaders of politics and institutions seem paralyzed or blind.
The Light of Hope, I believe, lives, no matter how deeply buried, in the hearts of all mankind. The hope for a future that respects and reveres all life, that no matter what the disturbance is, longs for happiness, equality, compassion and respect, that longs to be heard. I pray we are the ones who listen and respond with our hearts.