In conversations with friends recently, I have been struck by how distressed they are about some of the things that are happening in our world and I wanted to share with you some thoughts on this.
The work of Professor Steven Pinker has shown clearly that human violence has declined throughout recorded history, until the present day. It doesn’t feel like this is true because with 24 hour news coverage we hear about all of it! And because of the way the news is presented, the human suffering is often graphically described and portrayed in full colour pictures.
What the media don’t tell us about is all of the wonderful things that are happening in the world. All the help that we give each other. A great example was how people helped each other out during the recent flooding.
The approach I take is to be aware of what is going on in the world, but I limit my exposure to graphic TV coverage. This helps me not to be too troubled.
Then, I focus my energy on something that benefits the world: running the MA and training Mindfulness teachers. I recently led a retreat for 44 wonderful people who were completing our teacher training pathway and are now going out to teach others, such as young care leavers, teachers, parents and health care staff. This can improve so many people’s lives.
Remember: Energy Follows Focus – and we can choose where we place our focus: distressing news coverage or helping to make the world a better place.
This is equanimity: a warm engagement with the world, without being troubled by it.
To not be troubled, I limit my exposure to distressing world events. If I place my focus on distressing events that I can’t do anything about, I suffer and no one benefits. This is just common sense. This does not mean that I do not care about what is happening in the word. If there is something I can do about it, I engage warmly by placing my focus and energy there and doing what I can to help.
If we all do this we can change the world for the better – this is Compassion in Action.
So how can we respond to our world with compassion, both for ourselves and others? This is something we will explore at our Compassion in Action weekend at Samye Ling on the 11th to 13th of March, 2016. There is a reduced price of £80 for members. For more information, please click here and to book your place and join us, please click here.
I hope that you can join me and your fellow members there.
-Heather Regan- Addis