In my recent post “On Compassion – Our Highest Calling” (LINK), I wrote that compassion is an expression of the fully authentic self, wherein the divine identity is clearly expressed with a minimum of distortion from our ego-self. In other words, it is as close to the expression of Oneness as we can get in human form.
The vision of Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL) (LINK) speaks to the idea of “A World That Works for Everyone.” I have also posted about that idea (LINK), which has received a mostly positive but mixed response from those within the CSL organization. This post is about how the development of compassion, both individual and communal, can be the catalyst that leads us to #AWorldThatWorksForEveryone.
One of the principles of New Thought teachings, including the Science of Mind™, is that we are called to see beyond “appearances” or “conditions” to a greater Truth. That Truth is Spirit, which is perfect, whole and complete. The fact that appearances or conditions appear as less than they could be is the result of our limited mental capacity to more fully express our own divine natures.
As a result we see limitation, envision a greater Truth as the only Reality, and work to expand our acceptance of that greater Reality so that it can express more fully by means of us. This is true on both the individual and the collective levels – we expand our experience of Reality by expanding our capacity to accept our good.
Compassion is the expression of a highly developed and spiritually aware consciousness, and such a consciousness can be attained through the practice of New Thought principles, therefore, students of New Thought are working toward a consciousness of compassion. As this consciousness is developed and attained, we can truly work toward the creation of a world that works for everyone.
In fact, I know of no other way to do it.
The expression of true compassion demands a high level of personal development. This means practicing spiritual principles and working on our psychological development. Certainly, shadow work is included in this.
“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift.” ~ Richard Rohr
Then there is the issue of defining what a world that works for everyone might look like and how to go about creating such a world. We are often limited to envisioning what would work for ourselves as individuals and projecting that onto others. We may be trapped in the consciousness of “if everyone doesn’t think the way I (we) think, we are all doomed,” or 1st Tier consciousness. When we are in that consciousness, our fears rule except when we express the courage to overcome them; but that takes great energy and we often fail to express courage to the necessary degree.
The question might be put this way:
WHAT WOULD COMPASSION SEE AS A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE?
Is there a way to come to a place of deep compassion for all forms of human expression, to realize that everyone is actualizing the infinite potential of the Universe according to their own consciousness? To see that nothing else is possible?
Are we to turn from the world of “appearances” and “conditions” and operate in consciousness alone? Is that the best approach to take until we all develop the inner consciousness to express compassion as a matter of course? Some say that is the sole function of New Thought spiritual community – to help the individual develop to such a level, realizing that he or she will then know what to do and how to do it. The say that we in New Thought should avoid organizational projects for social justice or other forms of outreach and focus on the development of awakened individuals who will become involved as they see fit.
Others are more interested in taking action, both at the local spiritual community level and at the larger New Thought organizational level, and even in organizations joining together for large-scale projects. These people tend to desire to join with other New Thought practitioners as opposed to waiting to achieve a certain level of consciousness before acting (which it is unclear how one would define such a level, other than by attending a certain number of classes or something). They would relate more to the quote below:
“Never forget that social justice is what love looks like in public” ~ Cornel West
In my opinion, regardless of the path taken – individual development or community-generation action – the development of compassion is an essential element in moving toward the grand vision of A World That Works for Everyone. Spiritual communities centered on the development of a consciousness of compassion are making a statement that the elevation of human consciousness beyond the fear-based ego level of being is both important and worthwhile.
This means a movement toward 2nd Tier Levels of Existence, the being levels in the Spiral Dynamics™ model (LINK). As 2nd Tier is reached, there is a significant inner shift from fear-based consciousness to an empowered consciousness, one that is capable of seeing the value of every developmental level on the spiral; therefore, one becomes capable of true compassion. From a 2nd Tier perspective, compassion means coming from empowerment, not fear, to see both the inherent value in all, and also the appropriateness of the values systems for each level on the spiral – they are not wrong, they are all being appropriate to their level of development.
New Thought communities may want to begin to practice compassion within their own spiritual communities first, then expanding outward to New Thought organizations and the world beyond. True compassion comes from love and a sense of Oneness, and it involves radical truth-telling. This means that compassion is not always “nice.” The truth may at time be upsetting and difficult to tell, but compassion conveys truth in the most appropriate form for the situation.
Compassion is a meme, or a concept, and it will be expressed through the Level of Existence or vMEME of each person or community. This means that some attempts at compassion will be aspirational – meaning that it comes from a 1st Tier consciousness that is fear-based, and may not be without some degree of error or unskillfulness in its expression. We have to learn and grow into compassion, just as anything else. Compassion arises from a state of being that must be cultivated over time, based on the development of emotional and spiritual intelligence.
As Joseph Campbell has said:
The world is perfect. It’s a mess.
It has always been a mess.
We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.
~ Joseph Campbell
This speaks to the nature of the world today, a world that on any observable level, clearly does not work for everyone. But what our world always is, as it is now or in any condition, is perfect – the perfect form to call forth from human beings the greatness within them. The state of our world, or our immediate lives, at any moment is calling forth from us that which is required to take our world to the next level – not to ultimate perfection, but to the next level in our relationship with this living planet. And then the cycle will continue to call forth new expressions of states of being for the next level of expression, and so on.
The world does work for everyone in the potentiality of this relationship, but only a relative few are aware of the dynamics that are involved. So those few are called to develop and express compassion, and to invite others to do the same.
Perhaps the role of New Thought – its organizations, its ministries, and its individuals of all kinds, is to move in the direction of greater and greater compassion, using the principles of New Thought teachings. Once that mature, true compassion is awakened, I wonder if we will even have a choice as to how to proceed.
“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” ~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara