Monday’s Muse, a life well lived: Stephen Harrod Buhner

It has taken me a lifetime to understand the nature and necessity of compassion. To see in every person I meet a human being that is trying as all of us do to live a life based on inadequate information and insufficient capacities. There is not a one of us who has not hurt another life, sometimes terribly. And every single one of us, when we are older, are awakened in the night by a voice in the darkness saying, “There is something we need to talk about.” In those moments, we replay each and every one of those hurts. And one of the curses of growing old is that our sensitivity to moral transgressions increases with every year we live. Behaviors that were once thought free of hurt are recognized later in life as hurtful, sometimes terribly damaging. There is not a one of us who has not been hurt, not a one that has not hurt others. And we will always hurt others no matter how carefully we approach life, how carefully we craft our actions, how careful we try to be. This is one of the terrible tragedies of the human condition.
Over time we are forced to this recognition. By its nature it forces humility upon us, one of the most difficult of the virtues to develop. There is not a person I meet now for whom I do not have compassion, however much I may dislike them personally. And this growing capacity for compassion has brought me another understanding. That the hardest compassion there is to develop is the one we must learn to give to ourselves.
~ from the essay ‘On the Necessity for Compassion and the Dangers of Moral Purity

Published by Rachael M Rollson

creative life-learner

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