Compassion is a quality of personal fulfillment. Having undergone an arduous ‘hero cycle’ journey, the survivor-hero has experienced within him/herself many of the so-called faults s/he might earlier have harshly judged in others. To be an independent-minded person, as one must often be to escape the bonds of group-based limitations, one must strike out alone, forging new pathways. This may lead others to judge that person as an outsider or as a rebel. But to follow your own heart and fulfill your Soul longings often requires a departure from standard norms. In the end, the highest standard we must aim to achieve is mastery of our own individual potentials for the good of the greater whole.
Compassion is an empathetic appreciation of someone else’s difficulties or hardship. Living outside the bounds of normative behavior or attitudes oneself can help one develop compassion with regard to other ‘outliers,’ other “Others.” And in some ways, we are each outliers, as we are each so individual in our personality and Soul potentials.
There’s a wonderful though terribly heart-wrenching film, Two Spirits, about the too short life of Fred Martinez, a Navajo teen who was murdered by a skinhead in Cortez, Colorado, because s/he was “different.” In Navajo culture, traditionally gender is a continuum rather than a binary dichotomy: four genders are recognized, not two. Fred Martinez realized his core gender identity as a nadłe, sometimes translated as “two-spirit.” Navajo traditional culture not only acknowledges but celebrates these special persons who, as nadłe, blend male anatomy with a feminine role identity. Unfortunately, many in Anglo/ White society are not yet so enlightened as to “live and let live” with respect to gender-benders.
Fred Martinez transversed masculine and feminine gender modes fluidly in his young life, sometimes dressing “trans” and other times in jeans and tees. But as he grew into him/herself, despite encountering opposition from authorities and some of his classmates at school, he embraced his individual uniqueness and displayed a mixed identity with honesty and courage. On the way to a fair one horrible evening, Fred took a ride from a group of skinheads, one of whom later chased him down and violently murdered him, bashing in his head many times with a rock.
(sigh.) Fred Martinez was described by his mother and friends as a compassionate person who would go to great lengths to offer solace and lend an ear. He may have grown to become a counselor had he survived. Navajo culture, in fact, recognizes Two Spirits (male-to-feminine and female-to-masculine persons) as specially gifted communicators who transcend divisions between people, so they can be the greatest mediators in a community.
images are from pixabay.com
How has learning more about yourself from being an outsider or ‘different’ in your own ways helped you to develop compassion for the troubles others experience?
I invite YOUR comments and stories!