Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Seeking a Friend For the End of the World

Tom stumbled across this movie preview the other day, and made me watch it, because it looks like it's going to be a damn good movie:

But now, the damn thing is just HAUNTING me. I won't go into too much detail, but let's just say that my nightmares could be written up and sold to Hollywood for lots and lots of money - which is what I would do if Tom ever lost his job so that he wouldn't have to go back to work - and this one just sort of fits right in along with the other end-of-world catastrophes that I dream about at night.

The thing is, it also got me thinking. What if the world were going to end in three weeks? My main concern, of course, would be for my son. But what else? I'm lucky enough that in the last few years, I've had jobs that I love and have been able to do things that I love every single day with no regrets. But what about my husband? What about everyone else?

Not everyone gets to do what they love every single day. Should we all go around with that idea in the back of our heads? This could be the last day of Life As We Know It, so make it count, people!

How realistic is that?

Well, we can think about it another way. If today were the last day of Life As We Know It, what would be important to you? Spending time with the people you love? Being out in nature? Eating well with friends?

One thing that we can do every day to make our lives matter is to show compassion towards others. It's not as easy as we think it is, and it's even easier than we believe. It takes a concentrated effort to set aside your judgements of other people, especially strangers and acquaintances, but if we can just look at someone as simply another human being with the same desires to be happy and comfortable as we have, we can find a way to extend compassion to that person.

I saw a picture on Facebook this morning that disturbed me. It was a picture of a U.S. soldier with a couple of Army dogs, and it said something about how you can judge a man by how he treats an animal. What about how these soldiers treat "the enemy"? What about how "the enemy" treats us?

We're all just people, people. I know, it's not the same when someone has a gun pointed at your head, literally. But why are they pointing that gun at us in the first place? I'd like to bet that somewhere along the line, a lack of compassion had something to do with that.

Tell me I'm simple, tell me that the world's problems can't be solved with more compassion, and I'd have to tell you that I believe you are wrong. If you've never meditated before, take a few minutes to meditate on this: picture someone you consider to be an enemy. It doesn't matter if you know the person or not. You can choose a public figure, a politician (easy to do, I think) or even the guy who cut you off on your way to work yesterday. Think about them as a person. Because really, they aren't some super-space-being who doesn't share your anatomy and physiology. They might not share your philosophies or your beliefs, but they are people. They need to eat and shit and breathe just the same as you. And you don't know what their story is. You don't know that they are going through an incredibly painful divorce or had just been diagnosed with a serious health condition or just lost a beloved pet. Just think about them as a person, if you can. Once you can think about them as a person, just another human being, then you can feel compassion for them. They are no better, no worse than you. They want all the same things as you do: security and love.

So think about this in your next end-of-the-world scenario: yes, it matters that you are nice and act with compassion towards the people that you love on the last day of Life As You Know It, but I would argue that it's just as important to act with compassion towards the people that you don't know.

And this is why I have a hard time turning off my brain at night. Because I think like this all. the. time.

And if Tom ever loses his job, I'll sell my ideas to Hollywood.


Kristen said...

Since we both could totally create a kick butt movie with out nightmares I think we should just go for it.
Funny I know that people know all that you have said in this beautiful post but I also know that while in the moment it may sound good, when you haven't lived your life this way it can be very hard to follow through. I am lucky I was raised this way so going on with compassion is relatively easy for me.

VanBeads said...

I'm making much more of an effort to live with compassion, Kristen. And I'm always a little surprised when I find how easy it is to NOT act with compassion. But I really feel like if more people made an effort, we could solve so many problems and the world would just be a better place. Thanks so much for your comment!