“ONCE you encourage the thought of compassion in your mind, once the thought becomes active, then your attitude towards others changes automatically. If you approach others with the thought of compassion, that will automatically reduce fear and allow an openness with other people. It creates a positive, friendly atmosphere. With that attitude, you can approach a relationship in which you, yourself, initially create the possibility of receiving affection or positive response from the other person. And with that, even if the other person is unfriendly or doesn’t respond to you in a positive way, then at least you`ve approached the person with a feeling of openness that gives you a certain flexibility and the freedom to change your approach as needed. This kind of openness at least allows the possibility of having a meaningful conversation with them. But without the attitude of compassion, if you are feeling close, irritated or indifferent, then you be approached by your best friend and you just feel uncomfortable.” (Dalai Lama, “the Art of Happiness”, 1998)
“Compassion” is defined by Webster as “deep sympathy.” Sympathy means affinity or harmony. A value when practiced and internalized becomes a virtue. Compassion is an expression of love. Deeping our connections with others is imperative. Per our Lord Jesus, God’s second greatest Commandment is “Love of Neighbor”. In Filipino, “compassion” is “malasakit”.
Based on the Dalai Lama’s advice above, we must approach people with the “attitude of compassion to automatically create a positive and friendly atmosphere.” This seems to be the effective path to pursue for all personal and societal problems. “Love of Neighbor ” has always been our God’s mandate to us, which humankind foolishly ignored thus creating a troubled world. Hopefully, this article could help in reawakening our people and act accordingly guided by love and compassion toward our neighbors.
It is a universal rule “to do unto others what you want others to do unto you.” This simply means that if we are compassionate to others, we expect that others will be compassionate to us in return. It is like a smile. If you smile to a stranger you meet, chances are he/she will smile back at you. Smiling is less strenuous than sneering. Smiling, being compassionate and loving affect directly to one’s heart, and is self-fulfilling. Hence, let’s cultivate being compassionate and loving to promote good relationships with others. These good connections spell peace. The greeting of “peace be with you” is, undoubtedly, an expression of compassion in words.
Let`s localize our discussion. Clearly, we Filipinos badly need compassionate leaders in all our various weak institutions. However, be reminded that we, the people, play a big role in the creation of our leaders. The kind of leaders we have is a reflection of the kind of their followers. Being compassionate, therefore, must begin in every citizen of this nation before we can expect truly compassionate leaders. As a famous song goes, “let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me.”
I`ve said this before, and I`m saying it again for I deeply believe that “learning is the daughter of repetition. Filipinos are very religious people but why are we, in general, not compassionate people? If we Christian Filipinos are truly Christ-like, then we should be compassionate. Obviously, generally speaking, we Christian Filipinos are not Christ-like and, hence, not true Christian. “True Christian”, per Pope Francis, is “revolutionary in grace”. Being compassionate is being “revolutionary in grace”. Most of us Filipinos who call ourselves Christians, sad to say, lack compassion. Here lies our great dilemma as a predominantly Christian society. Awake, awake, Christian Filipinos and their churches, awake, awake !
For the information of our readers, the Davao-based “Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago” (KPP) Movement, whose members are called “Servants of the Nation”, is refocusing its advocacy to “People Reform Program” due to its new enlightenment that “to effectively change a nation (or institutions), we must change first man`s mindset and behavior.”
This simply means people renewal must come first before nation (or institutions) renewal. KPP`s Plan B of “Be a New Filipino” People Reform Program is very relevant to our discussion. KPP`s “Be a New Filipino” People Reform Program is a continuing, comprehensive and integrated Human Development Program. KPP aims to present this to our new President in 2022 for his/her serious consideration, approval and implementation.
The Program addresses the six current weaknesses of Filipino which are:
- Our utter lack of spirituality and morality.
- Scrambled hierarchy of values.
- Loss of love of country or patriotism.
- Extreme family-centeredness to a fault.
- Overly job-oriented due to lack of financial intelligence.
- Very poor stewardship of our God –given environment/creations.
Aside from being true Christians and New Filipino, former Senator Claro M. Recto admonished us also to be “Real Filipinos” with a decolonized mindset and behavior.
Lastly, let me say that compassion could help a lot in confronting many of our complex and challenging problems such as:
- Healing our terribly sick Philippine society.
- Resolution of our longest insurgency in the whole world.
- Ward on Illegal Drugs, Corruption and Poverty.
- Ecological crisis.
- Imbalanced development.
Let’s conclude this article with a short song “A New Commandment” below:
“A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you. (2x) By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another.
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another (2x)
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