A conversation about compassion from last week with Joe lingers with me. I think that in our usual stressed out state of mind, our capacity for compassion seems extremely limited. Joe suggested compassion seemed “unnatural” to us.
It seems rather to me that compassion is the natural state that is rediscovered when we are able to enter into that state of rest and stillness of which the scriptures often call us: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46) When I can get off the tread mill and give myself permission to enter into real stillness, compassion seems to arise naturally. Eventually, thoughts of others enter into the stillness. I truly feel for them, or with them, which is what compassion is all about, and I do so without a sense of desperation. I get out of my self-preoccupation; there is now room for others in my heart. This, I believe, is the state out of which intercessory prayer arises. It goes beyond words to a capacity to hold another person in your own heart and in the presence of God.
I think entering into stillness also gives rise to creativity — the capacity to think along paths that are less travelled. Here is a quote of which I am fond: “Why should we use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” Brenda Ueland
Enter into stillness, uncork creativity, and we discover we’re not really grumpy old geezers after all.
Michael of Parsippany Monthly latched onto this sentence that I had written in an earlier posting: “Writing this blog provides me with a way to be (and feel) creative, which for me is directly connected to feeling alive.” In his comment (see “Three weeks in…”) Michael described how starting up his new monthly newspaper has engaged his soul because of the creativity that it calls forth within him.
My friend Charlie engaged me in some good questions stemming from “Getting candy for truth telling.” If you are interested, you can check out the comments section.