This morning a battle rages inside me, and I’m not sure who will win. The Dalai Lama says, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” It is relatively easy to be compassionate toward the ill, the homeless, the hungry, those less fortunate than myself. But I’m finding it much more difficult these days to be compassionate toward the irrational, the insane.
It’s showing up even in my reading/listening. I was on a walk yesterday listening to James Patterson’s The Last Days of John Lennon. I enjoyed the sections about the Beatles, their song writing, their rise to fame. But then Patterson mixes in the story of Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s assassin. Patterson gets inside Chapman’s head with such alarming detail that the irrational thinking leading to his deadly deed made me angry enough to stop listening.
My own intolerance of the insanity was surprising, even frightening to me. And then there is the insanity of the man in the White House and the irrational followers of Trump who sincerely believe their voice is the only voice that deserves to be heard and is truly the voice of the people, if not God. And I find my intolerance growing.
I know I should be compassionate, showing mercy for the infirm, the afflicted, but that is becoming more difficult as each day passes. I fear I’m becoming an old curmudgeon, and that’s not the person I want to be. As Ken Wilber might say, all of us after birth travel through all developmental stages, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially. Some of us just get stuck at different places in that development. It’s not good or bad; it just is. And as any parent knows, you can not rationally argue with a 3 year old. And so my intolerance is my own stuck place for this moment.
I think perhaps now is a good time for a loving-kindness meditation!