Compassion and Kindness
When we compare compassion with empathy or altruism we find the concepts are related but not the same. Empathy is a more general term and refers to our ability to walk in the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person; compassion includes those feelings and thoughts and motivates us to help the other. Altruism is akin to kindness, when we are prompted by the feelings of compassion to perform a selfless act. Each flow from the other, but we can exhibit one without the other.
There must be a greater source than what we see? Julech wondered. Everything is connected. The universe and all living things. There is an energy a fire that is within me that drives my yearning to go beyond my every day experience.
Is there anyone out there?
It was a beautiful July morning, not a cloud in sight and the temperature was just right for hiking.
Julech got an early start and had been on the trail for about two hours when he looked up at the clear blue sky and wondered out loud, " God, or whatever or whoever, are you up there?" There was no answer.
He wandered a little further and peered down into the valley? "Are you, whoever your are, down there?" There was no answer.
He kept climbing up the mountain trail.
After a further hour of walking Julech saw another hiker coming toward him. He looked a little older than Julech, had a beard, a staff for balance and was clothed in hiking gear. Julech thought maybe he had scaled the top of the mountain, and now was on his way back to the village below.
As they met on the trail, the hiker said, "It's a great day for hiking ." He paused then asked, "How far up are you going?"
"I'm not sure," Julech replied, " I'm just hiking up this trail and trying to take in all the beauty around me."
"Is that all? replied the hiker.
"Well no, I'm really on a journey looking for some meaning in life. I'm searching for something that I can't really explain at the moment. The only thing I can come up with is that there must be more to life than what I encounter day in and day out."
"That's pretty heavy stuff." said the hiker, as he began to resume his downward trek. He went about 50 feet (15 meters) then looked over his shoulder and called out to Julech, "Open your eyes and ears. Look and listen deeper."
What the heck does that mean, Julech thought. I can see the beauty around me, I told him that. I can hear the sounds of the wind, rustle of the trees, and the birds in the air. Look and listen deeper?
(From the opening lines of Julech's pending book)
Who Am I?
Julech is an interesting character who came to me one morning and asked,
"Do you know who I am?"
"No I don't, I never met you before," I responded.
"Really, are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure." I said.
"Well, I am the person who journey's through life seeking wisdom. I'm every person, man, woman or child, who seeks the truth and searches their heart for peace, forgiveness and love and when they find it, they give what they have found to others at no charge."
"Wow!" I was awe struck.
"Can you tell me more?" I asked.
"Who are you?" Julech replied.
What a question, not "what are you?" or "What do you do?" but, "Who are you?"
The most fundamental question I need to ask is “who am I?” We often define ourselves by what others think I. am. We define ourselves my the roles we play, by what others think who we are. But do we go into silence and in a quiet moment and ask: who am I?” This question begs others: Why do I exist? What holds me in existence? Why am I here? What holds me in life? When I ask these questions two things come to mind.
The first is one of bodily existence. I am here in body, I have a physical being. I can be perceived by others, I exist in time and space. The second one is of spirit. And spirit defines a more deeper self. One that we cannot see but is fused with the body to make me, me. The body projects outside, the spirit projects inside. It is the spirit that prompts me to ask: “who am I” and “why do I exist? And, “ where does life come from?”
The outside caters to my ego; and I also cater to my ego. I define myself by my ego. It likes to hear what others say and I puff myself up by buying into what they say. But my ego is not who I am as my body can exist without an ego, just as a rock exists without an ego. I exist because the spirit dwells within me and that spirit comes from the Spirit beyond me; it comes from a source that breathes life into all things and holds me in existence. Without that Spirit nothing would exist.
It is connecting with that Source within me, that holds me in existence and joins me in unison with all of creation, in all time, in the past and the future, where I can begin to answer the questions: “who am I?” “why do I exist?” “what holds me in life?” And “why am I here?”