Well, what a crazy few weeks. The world has turned upside-down and seems to be a completely different place. Going to Hell in a handbasket is the phrase that springs to mind. Racism and violence seems to have been given a validity by the Establishment, allowing individuals, groups and nations to pick on the outsiders, the less fortunate, the different. Something dark, dangerous and demonic has been released. Or at least that how it looks to me, from here.
I've had to put the internet down now, I've started to have nightmares. Armageddon was always promised but I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime - I thought we had a couple of generations of safety before that. But it appears that Mother Nature's need to protect the earth by bringing about massive global change has accelerated the downfall of mankind.
Ahh, that's a bit gloomy. And to be honest I have felt a bit gloomy about it, ever since the result of the Brexit vote and the subsequent world horrors which seem to keep on happening. But yesterday I stopped feeling gloomy (my subconscious hasn't quite caught up yet - I'm still dreaming about raging fires and pestilence), and started to feel more positive about the whole thing.
It feels to me like compassion is on the rise. The need for collaboration, compassion and love. Which, as we all know, are the only things that will save us and make the world a good place again. And of course, whenever great change arises, on a personal or global scale, resistance kicks in. Everything seems to fight against it and stop the change from occurring. From friends and family members saying "don't move abroad", to the unstoppable urgency to clean the fridge instead of sitting down to write your book, to lying in public to meet ones own political ambitions.
So I've started to see all this violence as a reaction to the inevitable rise of a new way. As someone said to me yesterday, its like a dragon, backed into a corner, thrashing and writhing with all its might in its last throws before its inevitable defeat.
And now we have an opportunity. We have the opportunity to rewrite how we all be together. We have the chance to state our needs, all of us, and work together to meet them. On an individual, regional, national and global basis. We have women coming into prominent positions of power. Now, as we know, successful women have traditionally had to become even more hard-lined male than the men to succeed, but maybe its time that can change. If the world is recognising that we need the yin energy, the collaborative, diplomatic, loving compassion that women do so well, maybe the Nicola Sturgeons, Theresa Mays, Angela Merkels and Hilary Clintons can shuck off the yang protection and do what they naturally do best - nurture, care and love us back to health.
And what's been troubling me about this is my own role in it. I've been thinking a lot about compassion - I've been meditating on it for 6 months now, trying to bring compassion into the world by approaching everything with loving kindness. And I've started to question what compassion actually means. I've always thought of it as a kind of benevolence - approaching others with an empathic, non-judgemental attitude. But recently that hasn't felt like enough. Then I happened to be reading a book by the Dalai Lama - How to Practice, and in it he gives a definition of compassion. He says that compassion is feeling someone's suffering so much that you have to act.
And that spoke to me. It's not enough to feel bad about what's going on. Of course there is value in putting compassion into the world through thoughts and intentions. But it also needs action.
So then my thoughts turned to what action can I take? Should I return to the UK and get involved in politics? Should I go back to the corporate life and start trying to change it from the inside again? Do I become an internet activist?
As you might imagine, none of those options filled me with joy. Then it struck me - I just need to continue what I'm doing. Maybe with greater passion and greater urgency, but just continue. The path I have been on so far has taken me from someone working to supply the world with better ways to "defend" itself (i.e. kill other people), to someone who is dedicated to finding freedom, fulfilment and happiness through understanding my own needs and meeting them. And then dedicating myself to helping others do that too.
So I find myself living the Dalai Lama's definition of compassion - finding the suffering of others so unbearable that I have to do something about it. What I choose to do is work with people on their path to freedom - giving them time, space and attention to figure out what their needs are and how they can meet them. And how meeting their needs makes the world a better place.
And right now we all need to be doing all we can to make the world a better place.