KINDNESS AND COMPASSION
In June 2016, the Dalai Lama, Stefani Joanne Germanotta and Philip Anschutz addressed the 84th Annual US Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis on the topic of kindness and compassion. Veronica Radyak wrote about their exchange in V Magazine. Radyak spoke of the Dalai Lama’s belief that humans are too materialistic and said, “The holy leader confronted the idea of the future and how the past is an unchangeable entity. He speculated how the younger generation has the power to create a healthier environment, which in turn, could allow for a healthier mind.” Germanotta brought up the tragedy that took place in an Orlando bar on the 12th of June, just weeks before the conference. The Dalai Lama recommended, “Once (a) tragic situation happens, not avoid—(but) look at more deeply, widely. Many positive, happy things are there if you look (from a) wider perspective. If you look real closely, it appears unbearable. But if you look widely (you see) other positive things there.” Good can prevail in tragedy when there is hope, kindness and compassion.
Excerpts from Germanotta’s address at the conference culminated in the following message: “Because the mind of the United States and the body of the United States are not connected, we have disharmony. And kindness is the cheapest way to cure that and it has a priceless aftermath. The fantastic thing about kindness is that it’s free, it can’t hurt you or anybody else. It is the thing that brings us all together. In times of chaos and crisis, we all tend to start pointing fingers at where we think the bad guys are, where the evil is. We all start arguing. Everybody has different opinions about that. Please do not forget hatred or evil, whatever you want to call it, is intelligent, it’s smart and it’s invisible. It doesn’t have a color, it doesn’t have a race, it doesn’t have a religion, it has no politics; it’s an invisible snake that while it is planning to make its attack, it’s thinking to itself, ‘I’m going to divide my enemy into smaller, less strong groups and then I’m going to make them hate each other so that it’s easier to take them down.’ And as we’re yelling at each other trying to figure out which group it is that’s causing the problem, evil is winning all around us.”
Germanotta continues, “We need to shift the perspective. The solution is that we need to build a kinder and braver world. Get rid of those labels, the different factions such as: gays, strait, rich or poor, mentally ill, not mentally ill, gun owner or not a gun owner. None of this can matter any longer. We are unified in our humanity, and the only thing that we know is we appreciate kindness in one another. So, this must come before all things and you must operate relentlessly in this way, with everything you have.”
We find ourselves, a little more than a year later, standing in disbelief at what happened in Las Vegas. Looking through the slide shows on Facebook of the 59 individuals that were gun down Sunday night, it’s easy to speculate that it could have been any of us enjoying a night of entertainment. They are us! Germanotta is right when she says that our enemy is intelligent and invisible. They are strategic and unemotional in their pursuit of our annihilation. We can no longer emotionally detach ourselves from each other. Self-destruction is imminent when we choose to be our own worst enemy. Our strength lies in unity. (Note-Stefani Joanne Germanotta’s stage name is Lady Gaga.)
Originally published in The Bay City Tribune on Sunday, October 8, 20