Heart Over Matter

They say it’s so hard to love that only the select few can manage it, or only mothers, or preachers, or ascetics, or blah blah blah. What BS. It’s not difficult to love unconditionally; that’s the only love there is.  It’s not difficult to be kind, to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to try, even for a minute, to see the world from another perspective. It seems difficult because we buy into the narrative, the same way we think we could never climb a mountain until an ailing octogenarian does it.

I’ve never met a straight-up villain. They abound in fiction, gossip, news and our egocentric fantasies, but rarely in real life. Why do we keep perpetuating the myth of elusive compassion? How do we expect anyone to make an effort if all we ever say is that the odds are stacked against us? In my experience people want to do the kind thing far more than the mean thing, but our programming says love is hard and we’re only human. So we do the mean thing, which takes up far more energy and psychological space.

All I hear every day is how rotten the world is, so even though I want to hug you I’m going to fold my arms until the urge fades. It’s stupid and painful. We need to stop talking about how awful everyone is and how tough it is to be loving. It’s a lot more difficult to cut ourselves off from our innate desire to connect. Most people have good intentions, but we need them to be monsters for the purposes of whatever dramatic story we want to tell ourselves.

I don’t know about this dog-eat-dog world people talk about. In my world everyone’s brushing stardust off their unicorns. Sometimes they miss a few grains. Sometimes the unicorns bite. Sometimes Strawberry Volcano spews scalding hot chocolate sauce and everybody has to run. But hey, life goes on. As far as I can see, we have to actively stop ourselves from being kind, so maybe let’s just…not. Not put up that wall. Not reinforce the ludicrous notion that social creatures that crave contact don’t WANT to connect. It’s absurd and dishonest and dangerous.

Every day we do awesome things. Raise children, make art, run marathons, build relationships, overcome illness and heartache, serve our communities, achieve various goals. If we can do any of that, we can definitely embody more compassion than a monk on a mountaintop. We don’t need to fake it; we need to get rid of the pile of junk that blocks the way.

It’s not hard. Just pick up a broom and start sweeping.

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