Compassion and Discernment and the Versus Part

compassion discernment

So many things lately have caused me to reflect on the conflicting messages we grow up with and that we pass on to our kids.

It is like there is no common sense middle ground. There is no “see the merits of both practices” just ‘ ‘ “black and white,” “right and wrong .. ” and those ends of the spectrum are, in themselves, open to personal interpretations.

It comes down to one big important area. How do we balance compassion and caring for one another with the need to think critically, to question what is happening around us, and to discern? The only conclusion I have made in response is simply, I don’t know .. but we HAVE to find a way.

When groups polarize … they stop listening to one another. They are not even willing to engage in the discussion BECAUSE the behaviour of the other group is seen as deplorable and sometimes even dangerous. It is very easy to dismiss the substance of important information based on reaction to behaviour.

When science and religion put down their weapons and met in the middle of the room and came up with many interesting and amazing new understandings, much of the world was too busy perpetuating the war to notice the principles had abandoned their posts.

Sometimes you wonder if the point is ever to solve anything, but rather just to fight.

I want my children to question everything. I don’t want them to ever get to a place where it is all so comfortable they drift off to sleep. I want that, not just for them, but for the world. We must always be free to ask why, to challenge what is, and none of us should take that challenge as a threat. When someone confronts us it is an opportunity to teach and explain. I want my children to understand their own voice inside and to have the strength to follow it even if it means they walk lonely into the night when the crowd moves off in the opposite direction. I want them to do that for themselves and to be willing to do it for others .. to stand, and challenge, and ask.

I hope they have developed discernment – the ability to pay attention to all the intangible things that speak to us about the experiences before us. I hope they trust that discernment and let it lead them as to when they must challenge and when they can sit down.

There are difficult questions in this world that we must ask. Someone must ask them. And we must not shoot the person willing to stand and ask.

On the other hand I want them to be able to find compassion for people and circumstances….to not throw away people just because they made mistakes ….to not make broad sweeping strokes with their paintbrushes assuming because a terrorist was from Iraq that all Iraqis are terrorists. I want them to be able to help others, to believe the world can move towards light and healing.

My problem today is that with all the special interest groups, privacy acts, human rights, – many of which are needed – I am prevented from asking important questions without bringing down a wrath of condemnation. If I stand and say, for instance, “I don’t want to surrender Christmas for Holidays,” then I am horrible because not everyone believes in Christmas.

What concerns me is that logic and common sense seems to have vacated their committee chairs in life. The above argument, which can be applied to so many differing issues, is illogical. You do not want me to impose my views on you and your solution is that you impose your view on me by disallowing that celebration. We are not compromising, we are not understanding. I am surrendering my rights for yours.

Common sense would say, we must both compromise something of equal value. I give up Christmas, you give up your religious holiday. OR, pay no attention to Christmas if it is not in your belief system. Don’t celebrate it .. I am fine with that. Don’t. And I will support you celebrating your significant day even though I will not celebrate it. I would NEVER go to your country and presume to dictate your customs and beliefs. I would either join in, or quietly busy myself elsewhere. Common sense would say this is a country that was built on Christian values as yours was built on your religious beliefs. You knew that when you came here. You chose to come here, so my next question is, “WHY do you want to live in my country if you find our beliefs and practices reprehensible?” I am not asking this to suggest you have no right to live here, or that you are not of value .. IT IS A REASONABLE QUESTION. Help me understand, because I don’t. You want the freedom to practice your beliefs. I do too. Why can’t we just allow each other to do that?

We have the fiasco with WikiLeaks. Again we want to kill the messengers, those that obtained the documents, those that helped to get the documents out. We should be asking what kind of people have we elected and put in control of our lives ? There are things that are a matter of national security and then there are things that clearly demonstrate pettiness, corruption, and personal gains. Are we that willing to say “not even going to address that .. I just want to see the people responsible for these leaks put away.”

The huge movement in spiritualism – whether it be religion or new age – speaks of loving the world and healing it with kindness. It would hold up compassion as all that matters. The conspiracy theorists speak of danger in every corner, surrounding us , consuming us. They would hold up discernment as the most important. They want us to wake up before it is too late.

I wonder how many prayer groups have been murdered as they knelt, simply because they did not hear the approaching gunman as they cocked their guns and began to shoot. Can prayer be that loud as to drown out common sense? I wonder how effective they are in healing the world now that they are gone? Sometimes dying is not noble . … it is just a waste.

There is a scary element of complacency in the push to “love the world with our light.”

We have so elevated compassion on our scale of important human emotions (and it is very important) that we almost fear discernment. THAT is exactly what the fear is. My fear is rather that we believe we must trade one for the other. I don’t believe that. I believe we can have both. I believe our children need to understand the balance.

How do we teach them that in a world of extremism?

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