Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some Ways We Might Grow in Compassion

Monet's Sunrise

Wow do I need these lessons below and more, so this definitely "student to other students" Finally, I felt inspired today to take note of the following practices for rest of the week. Maybe they will be comforting balm for the flash & conflicts of general world news recently -- maybe a path will be more clear with these disciplines?

“Conservatism is as bad in religion as in any other department of human activity. It destroys the ego's* creative freedom and closes up the paths of fresh spiritual enterprise. This is the main reason why our medieval mystic techniques can no longer produce original discoveries of ancient truth.“ - from Allama Muhammad Iqbal in “Reconstruction of religious thoughts in Islam”. * I've learned many wisdoms from Iqbal and plan to learn many more. One wisdom has been the healthy and needful understanding of *"ego" before it becomes corrupted - might one way be to renew our awareness and livelihood in our least corrupted and most childlike part? Other manifestations of "ego" as control, dogma and superficiality are not the same quality. ***

From "The way to speed up your spiritual development" by Guy Finley (A most inclusive teacher)from his email of today, 3 May, 2011

Key Lesson: Seeing the spiritually lost state, the interior bankruptcy of other human beings can be used to accelerate your own relationship with the Divine, but only if you understand that you are not on this earth to judge the nature of others, but to transcend it.

Secrets of Compassionate Relationships
Compassion for others starts with the understanding that every human being on the planet looks different from us --because physically we are different -- but inwardly we all live in the same pool. We all have pain and pleasure, we all share emotions that move in waves through that pool. People may live on the east bank of the pool so that the waves they know are different from the waves we know on the west bank, but if we look close enough, we can see that we share east bank waves in us as well.

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, "How could that person be like that?" and then by the grace of God, discovered that you had done the same thing before, only called it something different? This is a beautiful realization because it proves to you that it is intended for those of us who would have a higher life to use everyone's life for our own development.

Instead of walking through our days meeting people with the closed-off nature that we presently act from, we can begin to let down our guard. This doesn't mean to identify with negativity or cruelty in other people. We can certainly see their negative emotions. But because we have known hostility, fear, and hatred in ourselves, instead of punishing others for their states, we can begin to help them do what they must do, which is to fall back on themselves when we don't take part in their negativity the way we have always done.

Did you know that whenever you resist someone's negative state, you actually further enable that person's negativity? So, meet people differently! Learn to meet people with this quiet inner request: "What can I learn about myself from you?" Try it. You won't believe the difference it will make in what will come up in you and what you can learn about yourself because of what does come up.

As we participate in this completely different order of relationship -- being aware of the other person -- compassion is born. There is no compassion that exists in a sleeping human being, in unconscious relationship, except for the fallacious compassion we express in order to make ourselves feel like we're compassionate. Real compassion has to do with realizing that conscious relationship is the root of our existence, trying to get us to wake up a little bit and enter into those relationships which make it possible for our lives to become what they're intended to be.

For one glimpse into "enlightenment" within Islamic-Sufi interfaith/feminist framework, look into the woman, writer and Iranian scholar who has translated over twenty-five books, including "Fatima is Fatima" and Iqbal: Manifestation of the Islamic Spirit, as well as adapting the Encyclopaedia of Islamic Law to fresh understanding including more room for women in our time. She reminds that the language of the Qur’an is not didactic but poetic, and therefore open to many different kinds and even levels of translation, from literal to symbolic.

I found the following translation in Ascent Magazine (which I found by looking for a translator who knew Rumi's original language and happily found a woman.)

Lord, said David, since you do not need us, why did you create these two worlds? Reality replied: O prisoner of time, I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity, and I wished this treasure to be known, so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart; darkened back, the world; The back would please you if you've never seen the face. Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw? Yet clean away the mud and straw, and a mirror might be revealed. ... If you wish your heart to be bright, you must do a little work. My King addressed the soul of my flesh: You return just as you left. Where are the traces of my gifts? We know that alchemy transforms copper into gold. This Sun doesn't want a crown or robe from God's grace. He is a hat to a hundred bald men, a covering for ten who were naked. Jesus sat humbly on the back of an ass, my child! How could a zephyr ride an ass? Spirit, find your way, in seeking lowness like a stream. Reason, tread the path of selflessness into eternity. Remember God so much that you are forgotten. Let the caller and the called disappear; be lost in the Call.

From "Love is a Stranger", Kabir Helminski (Rumi Translator) Threshold Books, 1993


I found the following here by way of Arthur Waskow and most gentle compassionate Rabbi...

SHADOW: Give up trying to hide, deny, or escape from your imperfections. Listen to what your demons have to say to you.

SILENCE: Slow down. Be calm. Find a place where you can regularly practice silence. There you will find the resources to revitalize your body, mind, and soul.

TEACHERS: Be willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around you, however unlikely or unlike you they may be. Always be a sensitive student.

TRANSFORMATION: Welcome the positive changes that are taking place in your life. Open up the windows and let in some fresh air. Wholeness and healing are waiting in the wings.

UNITY: In this age of global spirituality, respect differences but affirm commonalities. Work together with those who are trying to make the world a better place.

VISION: Practice the art of seeing the invisible. Use the wisdom of your personal visions to renew yourself and your community.

WONDER: Cultivate a vibrant curiosity and welcome the reports of your senses. The world is alive and moving toward you with rare epiphanies and wonderful surprises. Remember you are standing on holy ground.

*** FIND a Film for TV and more on Allama Iqbal here and here

"One Pomegranate" (pomegranates symbolize compassion to many) This one is by Judith Anderson - find - here

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