Photo by Bill Hoenk
In the wake of the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon in America, seeing photos of innocent men, women and children confused and in pain, missing legs and loved ones, their lives shattered, I feel an intense emotion arise within me and I tell myself that we, as a human community, must cleanse ourselves of the disease that twists our perception of this world into a place of self-gain where our view becomes so distorted that we seek to harm others. This disease threatens to destroy us, as a species, or, at the very least, to destroy millions of lives as it has done so for thousands of years. Do we have the capacity to change?
In reality, the root of what makes terrorists kill innocent people is the same root that causes a company to destroy a community for profit, a politician to accept a bribe that cheats his constituents or a man to tell lies about his neighbor; the sense of separation. The feeling that we are different from one another, that we do not possess a commonality leads to prejudices that says I am better than you, that my country is better, my religion, my color, my name. From there, it is only a short step to justify our anger towards our neighbor, our resentment of his gains that, somehow, he doesn’t deserve what he gets. Yet, it never enters our minds even once that, like the Sun, God shines His light on all of us unconditionally and that our life is the way it is because we have made it so.
Since coming to Rosia Montana last year, I have come to realize that open-pit mining is not the biggest threat to this community. The biggest threat comes from each of us. It comes from how we look upon each other without compassion. Compassion is the understanding that human beings are simply acting according to how they see the world. It is one of the greatest tools a community can possess and makes a nation strong but it starts with us, as individuals.
Everyone deserves compassion but do not think compassion is weak. Compassion is infinitely strong and with it, you will better understand those with whom you disagree. That understanding has the capacity to bring solutions for a compromise or a new strategy to win your “enemies” hearts and bring them onto your side. It may be that differences remain and that no compromise is possible, but you will do your duty with love and not hate.
It’s not easy; facing a company or someone you disagree with is not an easy task for most of us. Yet, compassion softens your eyes and you begin to see the situation in a different way because you see the world in a different way. You begin to perform actions that are of benefit to all and become less interested in actions purely for self-gain.
In that moment, you understand that your neighbor is simply seeking happiness and security in the best way he knows how, that a company is lead by individual men and women and those men and women are simply seeking happiness and security in the only way they know. You realize that under all the pretension and hoopla and frenzied activity we all seek the same thing; we simply want to be happy, to know peace.
In truth, we do share a bond; it’s the bond of being human.
We have all been given the opportunity to make this world a paradise and though our definition of paradise may differ, let us remember what we are seeking – happiness.
And that, my friend, is compassion.