Compassion & The Art of Loving

By Crystal Stevens

“Life’s most persistent & urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

The world is in dire straits. Philosophers, prophets, educators, healers, scientists, activists, environmentalists, free thinkers, dreamers and the like have been trying to find pragmatic solutions to global epidemics for centuries. In all the searching, love and compassion tend to play a significant role in global solutions to hunger and homelessness, poverty, environmental degradation, war, among other severe problems facing the world today.

World peace will never be possible without love and compassion permeating every cell of our beings. One of my favorite solution based concepts is Radical Compassion, a term coined by philosopher Khen Lampert. Radical Compassion is defined as a “specific type of general compassion which includes the inner imperative to change reality in order to alleviate the pain in others.” This state of mind, according to Lamberts theory is universal and stands at the root of the historical cry for social change.

When it comes to matters of the heart, love and compassion are the bringers of joy, the bearers of happiness, and the emotions that evoke joyful visceral responses which make millions smile. Love and compassion have the miraculous ability to heal, to give hope, and to actually change the course of one’s life. Mindfulness is among the tools needed to truly practice love and compassion in this crazy world. In a world full of love and compassion, trust would grow like wildflowers. Love and compassion were at the core values of some of the most influential peacemakers and religious figures of all time and tend to be recurring themes throughout many religions around the world.

Practice love & compassion daily
Smile at a stranger, offer a hand to someone in need, open doors for others, call a friend to tell you how much they mean to you, practice self love, go out of your way to do a random act of kindness, pay for the person in line behind you, place coins in toy machines for children, visit the elders in your life, volunteer in your community, be a positive example to others. Positivity, love and compassion send ripples out into the world.

Heart Health: Show your heart some love
Rosemary Gladstar, a world renowned herbalist and author, recommends linden flower tea as a good heart tonic. She recommends Hawthorne in the form of tea, tincture, syrup, jelly or jam to aid in depression, anxiety or to help tone the muscles and vessels of the heart and to help lower cholesterol.

Be compassionate to the earth
As conscious consumers, we have a choice on how to spend our money. Unfortunately, holidays promote hype leading to wasteful consumerism. Each purchase we make directly affects the future of the earth. Let’s show love and compassion to the earth this month. Instead of buying flowers, buy a houseplant. Instead of buying chocolates in a heart shaped box loaded with preservatives and artificial sweeteners, buy fair trade organic chocolate. Instead of buying a card, make your own with recycled materials. Or instead of buying a gift, give an experience. For children, encourage them to make their own valentines from recycled materials. Instead of giving candy to their friends, give organic fruit leathers or let them make friendship bracelets.

Crystal Stevens is a regular contributor to The Healthy Planet magazine and is the co-manager of the La Vista CSA Farm with her husband Eric. You can find out more about the La Vista CSA Farm at www.LaVistaCSA.org.