What’s at Stake
This creature, Trump, has a following and I, along with millions of others, struggle to understand why.
This is what I have come up with:
I think about Pope Francis and the thing that he exhibits so strongly—compassion. Having compassion means you’ve suffered some or more than some and you’ve come out the other side with a sense of humility, because you understand what suffering is and how it forges bonds with the rest of humanity. Because everyone suffers.
Compassion is a state of empathy. By developing compassion, you acknowledge the interconnectedness of all beings.
Non-compassion, or hate in the general vernacular, is the opposite of interconnectedness. It always arises from fear. Always. And fear is the state of feeling oneself alone, powerless, not connected. It is a primal emotion and it is part of our reptilian brain, the one that controls our fight or flight responses, our heartbeat, our breaths—the basic responses that keep us alive.
Our frontal cortex is our reasoning brain and the reason we can develop other traits beyond simply survival—like compassion. Everyone with a frontal cortex has the capacity to develop compassion, but it is a trait that will wither without nourishment.
When life becomes suffering, as it inevitably does at times, ask yourself: do you strive to learn from that suffering, thereby developing compassion and connectedness with others, or do you stay mucked about in the primal instinct of fear—blaming others and outside situations for your suffering?
Compassion unifies; fear divides. That’s pretty much it.