Compassion is something that I speak a lot about, and this is the case for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons are simply that I think it is important as a quality to help guide the actions people take with themselves and others, as well as it being a useful thing for ourselves. Yet, I realize now that not everyone thinks this way. I also have started to realize that when we act out of a place of Compassion, people have intense resistance to it, but that the end effect it has is Beautiful.
So, it’s story time:
I had an encounter today with an older gentleman, retired, and it was quite eye-opening. As I was doing my daily meditation and journaling in the morning, I heard someone yelling outside of my dorm. Pardon the language, but I will write what was being said:
“You don’t belong here! Fuck off! Get out! Go! You don’t belong here! You don’t belong here…”
And so on and so forth.
It was an eye-opening experience because of what happened next. I looked outside my window and saw this older gentleman yelling such things to a homeless man on campus. Trying to stay calm, I yelled out of my window” “Hey! Please, stop!”. This garnered the response of “Shut up!” from this older gentlemen.
I then figured, since I had finished my morning routine and had to head to class anyways, that I would get ready to do so, leave, and go talk to this man. Merely wanting to make sure that things were okay, and that this conflict had a resolution in some way. Not knowing the story of either of these men, I merely wanted to bring some Compassion and Love into both of their lives.
The greeting received was rather harsh. At first, the man told me to stay away, but I calmly approached, asking him what was going on. My nerves were indeed going off, but I needed to stay calm and just breathe. This man continued to tell me that I wasn’t very smart, that he was smarter than me, that I was young and that, in ten years, I would realize that he was right in doing what he was doing. Throughout the rude and spiteful comments this man was making, I merely listened and tried to tell him that I only have Compassion for him and this homeless man, and want both of them to be okay. This was the intention in me approaching him, as well as to make him aware that my fellow students were trying to sleep at 7AM, and his yelling wasn’t doing anyone any good.
Eventually, some other people got involved for a bit, mainly to explain to him that the homeless man was indeed allowed to be on campus and that dumpster diving was actually allowed with the dumpsters on campus. Despite the person saying these things being an employee of the University, the older gentlemen refused to believe it, insisting that he was in the right. When the employee got angry as well and told the man “Well, I don’t care what you think.” the man looked at me and said “See, there! Thank you for being honest. That’s a real man.”. Honestly, the very last part I didn’t quite hear, but it was certainly a slight at me and my efforts to simply be compassionate, as he had been having an issue with it throughout the entire conversation.
I stayed after these other people are left, and the man had seemed to calm down. We talked for a bit more, and I think my intense idealism is what bothered him so much. The efforts I was making to be a compassionate human, and to treat everyone with Love and Respect, got to him in a way that I can’t understand, as I don’t know his story. While we were speaking though, it seemed clear to me that he was simply angry and caught up in the moment. There’s much more to this story, but the important part comes from a few aspects of this.
Not only was it my first time hearing someone so vigorously counter my ideals, but it was a situation that tested my ability to stay calm, to simply listen, and then speak what I saw. The man certainly wasn’t the most humble person I’ve met, claiming that he was so smart he should run for office and fix all of the issues society had, but then amending the statement to say that this was true for most people, he felt. It was these moments that my Ego wanted to flare up and to get engrossed in conflict. He continuously said “You’re angry. I can tell. You’re heated.” as well as saying that “You just want to be in control. You don’t really care about this guy. He’s worthless! There’s not gonna be any revolution starting from the homeless and poor people, they honestly don’t care. You just wanna be in control!”.
Firstly, he was right about me being heated. I was passionate at that moment. The want for peace and compassion from people was strong, but I also understood that I couldn’t control the situation. I merely wanted to talk to the man and try to get him to calm down and to diffuse the situation. Though, it did make me worry that, perhaps, deep down, I was aiming for some sort of control. Was my Ego driving that action? Did I approach him because I truly wanted the situation to be resolved, or because I wanted to feel good about myself?
I don’t think it was the latter. Because, honestly, I didn’t feel too great afterward. It wasn’t as if I was a hero who had saved anyone. It was merely a conversation with a man who was being aggressive towards someone I saw as being in a really rough place in Life.
Peace comes from Compassion. All people involved in that situation eventually calmed down and moved on. I told the man that he was right in that he has no technical obligation to ignore the homeless if they’re panhandling or doing what they do in public, but that it was his choice in regards to how he chose to react to such things. And there are consequences for those actions, karmic ones, and personal ones. Of course, I still Love this man and all the people involved in that conflict. We were all being tested by ourselves. Tested against our ideals, tested against our ability to be good people. Eventually, the man said that he admired my idealism and that he was sorry for not respecting the people in my dorm. I appreciated him saying so, but that wasn’t the point. An apology wasn’t the goal. It was Compassion. For him, and for all people. And, I guess, I wanted him to feel Compassionate for this other person. To see that, even if people are horrible or do horrible things, we have to try to understand them. Yet, knowing that I cannot force my ideals upon someone, I never told him it was something he should do, but merely hoped that my example could affect him in a positive way.
I knew that it was a controversial thing, me saying that, and I said back in my posts regarding Compassion often. Some people truly do feel like they have no need to be Compassionate, though. As a matter of fact, this man even said that the homeless man “isn’t a person”. That astounded me.
Not a person? How can you say that about a Human Being?
Yet, some people do see things as such. Because it is easier to go about our own business and to treat others harshly than it is to see them as people.
But, that action has horrible effects. Imagine the isolation, the alienation, the desperation people who do that must feel. I can’t. It’s truly too sad. I would rather see people as people, in all of their flaws, than say, ever, that they are not a person. We all have stories. Powerful histories that shape us.
We cannot, and should not, ignore that.
In order to see whether or not we are making a mistake in Life, all we have to do is look at how we affect others. Compassion, and the effect it has, was proved to me today. I was calm and collected, and simply trying to Love the people in a hard situation. And it worked out for me just fine. It actually ended up, hopefully, helping this man. We exchanged names, and he thanked me for my idealism, and I told him to have a good day. The last thing he said, as he looked up at the sky, was “Look how beautiful it is. Of course, it’ll be a good day.”.
That gave my Heart Joy. Perhaps he is thinking about this situation right now, and I hope that he has learned as much from it as I have. It made me worry that, with old age, my mind could become jaded and my ideals could be lost as the world is indeed harsh and full of trials.
But I don’t plan on that happening. I cannot say for sure, as I am not a seer, but I can say that my efforts are going towards Compassion, Love, Light, and Peace with all people.
The power of Truly Unconditional Love is the greatest Gift we have as Humans.
We should use it.
Thanks for reading!