• Mara Elwood

Compassion for Survival

The Dalai Lama says that compassion is not a luxury, we need it for the survival of humanity. After the events in Christchurch last week I am again reminded how much this work of spreading compassion means to me. When I heard of the horrific acts I took a moment of self compassion to acknowledge the sadness and helplessness that I felt in that moment, recognized that I was not alone, and knew that I needed to take action. Then I spent some time with a loving kindness meditation for all of the people of New Zealand, where 49 dead translates to a percentage per ca pita that would be like over 3400 people killed in a country like the US. Moving on, I spent time with loving kindness for the people of Christchurch, that have had a huge amount of suffering over the past decade, then the Muslim community that has been attacked and brutalized with this hateful act, they have also suffered more than others, some of them just having moved to New Zealand as a safe haven from persecution in their own countries, and finally to those families directly affected by this attack. To loose fathers, mothers, and children is always horrific and may feel impossible to bear. May all of these people find some peace, and the help and support that they need to move forward, may they give themselves the time they need and find the connections with others suffering with them, and those willing to listen, may they rise in compassionate power and overcome hate and oppression with love and kindness together.

Finally, I wondered how a human being could get to the point of acting out in this way? What an utter lack of compassion this signifies. Please take care of each other and support each other with kindness and understanding. We are all in this together, and only with compassion will humanity survive.

Ways to act after this event: give to the support of the families that are suffering; spend time with grief, disbelief and hurt; and lay some flowers, or meditate on human kindness. Refuse to let hate grow by hating, rather spread love by living with compassion. Do what you can, and need to do, to be the compassionate person you are.

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