The first step in the healing of this planet comes with the realization of what is. 

After a walk in the dark and yoga this overcast, drizzly Sunday morning, I joined Lucia for sitting meditation. Then, while I prepared and ate a smoothie for breakfast, and Lucia crocheted, we listened to a tape of Jack Kornfield speaking on Buddhist psychology. Jack is a wonderful storyteller whose voice carries not even a hint of judgement. While speaking about compassion he said that the near enemy of love is attachment. We can all relate to this. As opposed to the old expression, ‘If you love someone set them free,’ attachment leads to clinging and jealousy or even violence.

Likewise the near enemy of compassion is pity: ‘Oh, look at that poor person,’ a piteous person might say.

Let’s examine the word compassion—‘com’ ‘passion’, or ‘with’ ‘passion’. In other words compassion implies a willingness to ‘suffer with’. Not one of us is ever actually separate from the suffering which happens anywhere on this planet. If one person suffers we all do But this realization can feel overwhelming. One might ask: ‘What can I do when there is so much suffering?’

The first step in the healing of this planet comes with this realization of what is. Hence awareness of what is actually, truly, happening is a calling to each of us to contribute to the healing.

The question we may ask ourselves is: ‘What does it mean to be helpful?’ I believe the solution is intimately connected with finding our mission on Earth. True contentment and satisfaction is derived only when serving others. That may not mean changing what we do. It may mean simply making a shift of intention from ‘doing to get’ to ‘doing to serve’. Like the title of Ram Dass’s book, How Can I Help?

So I leave you with two questions:

  1. How are you called to help?
  2. Are you doing it?


I Am doing my best to help in every way every day.



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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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