Compassion

Tomorrow will see the launch of the Charter for Compassion. I posted a link to this a few weeks back, though I am not sure how many MOTO readers clicked 🙂

The Charter is a project designed to help bring people from all religions  and cultures – including secular folk – together through a commitment to act with compassion. It has been created with the help of some of the most wonderful people alive today including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Karen Armstrong. Once launched individuals and groups will be able to commit to its principles and follow them. Though the exact text is yet to be revealed, the essence of the Charter draws on the classic ‘Golden Rule’: do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

I can see no reason why every magician, pagan, esoteric person or group I know should not sign up to the Charter. After all compassion and love is the core of what we we are trying to do with all our meditations, services, rituals and initiations. However, simply signing up to the charter is easy. Enacting it, each and every day is the hard part. Indeed it is the hardest challenge within our lives; to love all equally without personal preference or distinction, to remove our personal ego bias from our interactions, to embrace and open to the other. I fail at this daily. But I remain committed to the simple fact that without compassion and the striving for it, we are lost.

In Perth there may – or may not be – an event in Kings Park on Sunday to mark the launch. I have let the organisation of this event rest with its originator, consciously choosing to remain out of running public events for a little while longer. I really hope it does go ahead. You can find details, if they will be posted in time, on the Charter for Compassion website.

In Australia at the moment we are gripped once again by fear and acting most uncompassionately to real people with real pain and real trauma who are legally seeking refuge on our shores. Every time the dangerous, racist, ignorant and selfish voices start prattling away on these issues without considering the facts and people involved, I cry. I would find solace in still holding British citizenship except I am not sure it is any better over there. I have prayed, done my magic, spoken to those in my sphere and other actions including penning a quick letter to our beloved Prime Minister. I wanted to remind our Kevin of his views that as a Christian he should infuse politics with the essence of Christianity, love, as expressed well by one of his heroes, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Dear Prime Minister,

Re:  Asylum Seekers seeking refuge in Australia

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Bonhoeffer

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Bonhoeffer

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

Bonhoeffer

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Bonhoeffer

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Bonhoeffer

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Bonhoeffer

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

Bonhoeffer

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Bonhoeffer

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Bonhoeffer

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Thank you.

I hope that gets the message across. However, I am not expecting change to come easily to Mr Rudd or Australia. Compassion, like any human quality is not a naturally occurring state. At any given moment we are so influenced by a mix of motivations, desires, drives, fears and loves that even the ‘nicest’ person is not always compassionate. We need to cultivate compassion as much as we have learnt to speak, learnt to walk, drive and socially interact. This is, or should be the role of religion and other cultural institutions. The role of esoteric religion or depth spirituality is to change and transform our inner nature so that each passing year we are closer and closer to expressing that truly compassionate self which is the core of our beings and exemplified in figures such as Christ and Buddha.

There are many, many practices within the various religions and esoteric spiritual traditions aimed to bring about this transformation. There are sadly few within the western magical and pagan traditions. There are some however and I invite all MOTO readers to deeply engage with these on Thursday. I have posted a Ritual to Invoke Compassion before on MOTO and given links to traditional Buddhist Tonglen practices also. These practices help, though the real work is applying them everyday.

Also, today is of course Remembrance Day. I come from families with military traditions stretching back farther than Waterloo and appreciate the need to remember. And I also like to remember each death in war, of soldiers, civilians , animals and cultures as a failure of compassion. War is the ultimate negation and misery and we can remember this as much as the dead and the sacrifices they made.

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