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Greetings everyone, my name is Joe Dwyer and thank you for being with me during week four of our time together on the subject matter of compassion. In week three, we covered the steps that are necessary to really be more of a compassionate person. We put it in the context of higher education. We recognized that it is not the intensity of some of the disciplines of higher education, but the impact that we can have in our world is much more dramatic if we follow the steps that we have already covered together. To reinforce this point before we move on, I want to read to you part of a poem from Emily Dickinson:

“If I could stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain or help one fainting robin unto his next again, I shall not live in vain.”

There are a few very powerful observations in Emily Dickinson’s words. First and foremost, compassion should be offered to everyone even, yes, the creatures and animals that we share our world with. This is something that I think we should promote as much as possible. Secondly, it was very obvious from her words, and those that I’ve spoken about before, even the simplest acts can have a dramatic effect. Now with that, armed in our very powerful mind and body and spirit, let us move on to the subject matter of week four.

I will tell you that after serving for 10 years in active ministry, I learned a real powerful lesson early on and I’d like to share that with you. That lesson is about those that require compassion. You see, I thought that for the longest time those people who have the most financial resources or material resources or seem to be “on the top of the world”, do not require compassionate care. Oh, how wrong I was! I can tell you that if we stop giving compassion to those people who present themselves to us that fit this image, we will not have the rollover effect that can really have a dramatic, positive experience and effect on our world today. That effect is very necessary. Yes, sometimes we hold back from that person who we say to ourselves that they don’t need it or they don’t deserve it.

Shelby and Daniel sleepingWell, as I often do, let me step back, to two of the very influential individuals that live here with me. Daniel, the beagle who, as most of you know, was placed in a gas chamber by humans, unfortunately almost lost his life, and was certainly discarded by humans. However, if you look at him today, every human he meets gets his signature “kisses” and love to an extent that is absolutely unbelievable to watch!

Shelby, my Pit Bull therapy dog, as I’ve explained, was abused very badly but has put that behind her. It was humans who abused her, it was humans that abandoned her but it is humans that she serves today. A friend told me this about Daniel and Shelby – even if it were the people who, and I’m going to hope had remorse for their actions, were in a situation where they encountered Daniel and Shelby and the dogs knew who they were, they would still offer them compassionate care and love. Yes, they would! You know it and I know it.

So this is the most important and yes, I will say, it is the most challenging of all of our components on compassion. We need to put into our minds that every individual needs it, every individual deserves it as much as we could possibly give. Yes, I am realistic. I know in some situations it’s going to be more difficult than others. That is okay. For as we’ve talked about in previous times on compassion, we do not need to do a lot. All we need to do is simple acts of kindness – a smile, or whatever it takes to make sure that that person knows they are receiving some form of compassion from us.

So once again our canines have provided the example we need and certainly the encouragement we need and now it is up to us to carry this forward. So I’m going to ask you to consider some real important action items for our fourth and final segment on compassion.

The first one is this. Create a mindset where every individual that you encounter is the one that needs and should receive compassion and care from each one of us. That would be a real important step in the right direction as we look at this fourth component on compassion.

Secondly, when you are challenged and you will be, consider Daniel and Shelby and animals just like them. Maybe even some human examples that maybe you could find in your world and in your life who have put aside their previous thoughts on this individual and have offered compassionate care and love. Get the encouragement you need to do the same. Compassion has no boundaries only we do at times.

So finally, breakdown these boundaries as your third action item and consider that statement that compassion has no boundaries whatsoever and no walls around it. The role over effects, the ripple effects that can be created if we can muster this challenge can really have the dramatic effect in our world that each one of us is looking for.

Thank you, once again. I always appreciate deeply you journeying with me on these important concepts. As always too, please provide me with your comments and thoughts. I welcome them and I thank you for all you do.

TAKE NOBLE ACTION

  • Have a mindset that every person you encounter needs compassionate care.
  • Use Daniel and Shelby or any of your own animal companions as role models for compassionate care.
  • Remember and act on the fact that compassion has no boundaries.