every now and then, ill meet an escapee, someone who has broken free of self-centeredness and lit out for the territory of compassion. you’ve met them too, those people who seem to emit a steady stream of, for lack of a better word, love-vibes. as soon as you come within range you feel embraced, accepted for who you are. for those of us who suspect that you rarely get something for nothing, such genialty can be discomforting. yet it feels so good to be around them. they stand there radiating photons of goodwill, and despite yourself you beam back, and the world, in a twinkling, changes.
i appreciate these compassion-mongers, even marvel at them. but i’ve rarely thought that i could be one of them. sure, i’ve tried to live a benign life, putting my shoulder to the wheel for peace, justice, and mother earth. like most people i love my parents, despite the corkscrew of childhood; dote on my siblings, though there is that scrapbook of old slights; and treasure my friends, even if they sometimes let me down. conventional wisdom wouldnt fault me for saving the best stuff for my nearest and dearest and giving the rest of humanity the leftovers.
thus it is, say the sages, that the harvest of kindness – of kindredness – is winnowed down to a precious few grains. for the center of all spiritual traditions is the beacon of a truly radical proposal: open your heart to everybody. everybody.
is this even possible?