We talk a lot about freedom.
Economically, we want to be free to live a comfortable life. Politically, we want to be free to make our own decisions. Spiritually, we want to be free from the limitations of temporal existence.
Think back to childhood. What did “be considerate to your brother/sister/others” really mean? Usually something like “you’re not free to do as you’d like”. Compassion for others just got in the way of what we wanted to do.
Where are we now? Our minds may still be locked in that childish attitude toward consideration.
But how often is compassion something we’re not free to act on?
When was the last time, as a parent, that you could see your children wanting time with you, but you had to make the choice to work, so they’d still have a roof over their heads and food in their mouths?
Would you much rather shop at stores that offer their employees a living wage (plus benefits, woohoo!) but your budget forces you back to establishments with terrible labor practices and environmental standards?
Would you like to draw from sustainable sources for energy usage, but there’s just nothing like that available to you?
How many times a day do you feel that the choice to act according to your values isn’t available to you?
So, we may actually have “grown up” regarding compassion. We can see consideration of others to be desirable in our life choices. And freedom to act on compassion might just be the ultimate freedom.
My wish for all of us in the holiday season is that we be free to dwell in the midst of our compassion.