Widening Your Circle of Compassion by Hobie Hare
Author: Hobie Hare
A human being is part of the whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. —Albert Einstein
The first sign of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. —Aldo Leopold
It’s unclear whether Albert Einstein and Aldo Leopold ever crossed paths, but if they did, they would have had a lot to talk about when it comes to human nature. Wondering about that reminds me of the 1985 movie Insignificance, where Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio, and Senator Joseph McCarthy converge and collide over the course of one night in Manhattan.
What if Einstein and Leopold had actually crossed paths and connected? What advice might they have for people living today, and for those who will follow us?
First, they might argue that widening the circle of compassion for others includes widening the same circle for ourselves. Waiting for other people or the world to change (along with trying to force them to do so) can be a perpetual excuse for inaction or not taking greater responsibility in our lives. When we choose this over the harder inner work of change, we surrender our personal power. We thwart our own potential. Change always starts from within; from there it ripples out to impact and influence others’ lives.
Second, Leopold and Einstein would likely remind us that all people on planet earth have the capacity to change if they release and transmute deeply held stories and beliefs of separation, scarcity, and other forms of fear. Enslaving the biosphere for private, short-term gain is tantamount to enslaving human and other natural communities. It diminishes our souls, our spirits, and our capacity for faith, hope, and change. In an accelerated and cancerous fashion, it diminishes the health of natural and human communities worldwide, severing the web of life that has sustained countless generations. Under such circumstances, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, hopeless, powerless, and cynical.
Leopold and Einstein would admonish us that we already know our current way of life is destructive and unsustainable. Would it not be wiser to act as guardians and stewards of our natural commons, rather than only as consumers? Would it not be a tremendous act of love, compassion, and humility to leave future generations a healthier, restored planet so that all inhabitants might thrive and flourish?
Leopold, who lived in the US for his entire life, and Einstein, a German-born émigré who arrived here in the 1930s, were both known for asking tough questions and not settling for expedient answers. Where can we individually stand up and speak our truth? Where in our lives can we take a stand for what’s really important to us, or on behalf of someone or something else? Where can we be more conscious, more courageous, more loving, more forgiving, more encouraging?
There’s always time to do what really matters. What matters is that we create the time to do so and take action, even if it feels like very small steps. That’s probably what Mahatma Gandhi did for most of his adult life. What if he also had encouraging words of wisdom stemming from a chance encounter with Leopold and Einstein?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” immediately comes to mind.
May the arrival of spring, followed by Earth Day on April 22, signal a time of powerful, positive, life-changing transformations for you and all the lives you impact. You are never too old, it is never too late, nor is it too hard to make some changes in your life.
After all, change is a constant part and traveling companion of our nature.
With each seasonal change, Hobie Hare finds his way to Dunrovin Ranch to sit on the “porch swing” with SuzAnne to celebrate nature’s annual cycle. Hobie has a way of letting you close your eyes and follow his voice to that special natural space where your soul is replenished – no matter where your feet are. It is a gift that Hobie has to share, this ability to follow sounds, conjure the sights, and ask our minds to take us to nature to receive its many healing benefits, even when our entire body cannot there. It works and it is such a blessing.
Be sure to check our DaysAtDunrovin calendar for Hobie next visit. He also hosts a forum on the DaysAtDunrovin web site where he would love to hear from you!
You can connect personally with Hobie by visiting his web site at YourLifeNature where you will find meditation tapes and nature photographs to help build a nature connection into your daily life.