livinglifefully.com

May 10
  
  

Until we extend our
circle of compassion
to all living things, we
will not find peace.

Albert Schweitzer

  

Today's Meditation:

"All living things" sounds like a pretty tall order.  After all, I'm not a saint or someone who's able to rise above all of the little foibles that our humanity seems to thrust upon us.  My circle of compassion, I'm afraid, does not extend to all living things, though I'm pretty sure that Albert is right here, and that it should.  But just how do I accomplish something like this if I want to have peace in my heart?

It seems even more difficult if one considers the "monkeysphere" theory of humanity, the theory that says there are a limited number of people for whom we're able to care, and if someone is outside of that number, we simply care much less about them than we would about someone in our sphere.  To put it very simply, if a loved one dies it affects us much more strongly than would the deaths of 10,000 people who are strangers to us in an earthquake, tsunami, war, or massacre.  We'll say "what a shame" about the far-away 10,000, but we'll mourn for days or weeks for the one loved one.

If Albert is right, the stakes are very high.  Peace is one of the most important elements of our lives if we're going to accomplish the things we wish to accomplish and become the people we're meant to become.  Peace allows us to approach all we do and say with a level of equanimity that doesn't include ego or the desire to impress anyone else.  Peace allows us to deal with setbacks in positive ways, and it allows us to resist reacting in negative ways.  Peace has been an important goal of human beings for many, many years, and here we learn that it's strongly tied to the way we feel for others. . . or not.

I can remind myself with each person that I see, each animal that I see, each plant or tree that I see, that the object of my attention is a creation of the exact same creative source as I.  The thing I see is doing its best to make it through life as well as it can, too.  And when I do that, I can feel the peace that comes from knowing that I'm not alone in this boat, on this planet that's hurtling through space at an amazing speed, and that it will do me good to relax and take this journey as it was meant to be--as part of a whole with others who also are part of that same whole.

(For information on the Monkeysphere theory, just type the word into any search engine.)

Questions to consider:

Why do we limit the number of people for whom we feel deep compassion and connection?

What would it mean to feel truly compassionate for all living things?

What's one step we could take to extend the circle of people or things for which we feel compassion?

For further thought:

Compassion is not religious business, it is human
business; it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace
and mental stability; it is essential for human survival.

the Dalai Lama

   

welcome page - contents - gallery - obstacles - quotations
 the people behind the words - our current e-zine
articles and excerpts - Daily Meditations, Year Two - Year Three
     

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation

  

  

  




Now available:  A new expanded edition of Just for Today from Living Life Fully Publications:
Over a year of "Just for Today" passages from our popular e-mail daily quotations, and our new expanded edition includes over 180 reflections on those thoughts.  Full of ideas and focal points that you can use to help to make your day brighter and more fulfilling as you focus on different ways of giving and awareness of the blessings in your life!  Click on the image to the left for the print version.    
Kindle Version

   
Also newly available:  Our print version of Daily Meditations, Year One
One full year's worth of our daily meditations that until now have been available only on our site or through e-mail.  Now you can have the entire first year's worth of daily meditations for just $2.99 on your Kindle.  (Click here or on the image for the print version.)
    

We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!