When we call something unfair or indecent or unconscionable or evil, when we speak of mercy and pity and compassion, those words have meaning, regardless of our particular faith or moral philosophy. They appeal to common standards we all are expected to understand and accept, standards without which we could not live any common life at all.
Every night on the stop global warming college tour, Laurie and I would tell these great young people that they have the power to do anything they want. That we all have the power to create a movement for change. That the best part of ourselves is the part that rises up instinctively from compassion.
The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if he would join the church triumphant.
The hope for the twentieth century rests on recognition that war and depression are man-made, and needless. They can be avoided in the future by turning from the nineteenth-century characteristics just mentioned (materialism, selfishness, false values, hypocrisy, and secret vices) and going back to other characteristics that our Western Society has always regarded as virtues: generosity, compassion, cooperation, rationality, and foresight, and finding a increased role in human life for love, spirituality, charity, and self discipline.
No great, inspiring culture of the future can be built upon the moral principle of relativism. For at its bottom such a culture holds that nothing is better than anything else, and that all things are in themselves equally meaningless. Except for the fragments of faith (in progress, in compassion, in conscience, in hope) to which it still clings, illegitimately, such a culture teaches every one of its children that life is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.
Hence there are so many kinds of love and so many kinds of compassion. But the basic, the most fundamental, is to understand this three-rung ladder of love. That will help you, that will give you an insight into where you are, what kind of love you are living in and what kind of compassion is happening to you. Watch. Beware not to remain caught in it. There are higher realms, heights to be climbed, peaks to be attained.
To be awake and harmonious creates the possibility for ecstasy to happen. Ecstasy means the ultimate joy, inexpressible; no words are adequate to say anything about it. And when one has attained to ecstasy, when one has known the ultimate peak of joy, compassion comes as a consequence. When you have that joy, you like to share it; you cannot avoid sharing, sharing is inevitable.
You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now. Joan Baez I feel that my mission is, wherever I am, to express my feeling about the importance of kindness, compassion, and the true sense of brotherhood. I practice these things. It gives me more happiness, more success. If I practiced anger or jealousy or bitterness, no doubt my smile would disappear.