Compassion In Politics? Steve and Karen welcome Robertson Work back to the show. A former UN employee and teacher, he is currently an activist, writer, and poet. One of his most noted books is A Compassionate Civilization: The Urgency of Sustainable Development and Mindful Activism – Reflections and Recommendations.
He claims compassion is our very nature. Yet our politics are driven by fear and anger. And, as a society, we are causing irreparable harm to our planet. Work says that when we become fearful it becomes all about me. We have to acknowledge that we’re all connected. “How do we invent a society that cares for everyone and cares for nature?” he asks. “It’s possible. We can do it.” As for dealing with fear, Work says, “We can be kind to even those we disagree with. That’s so important – to be kind and include rather than be judgmental and exclude.
He goes on to explain that anger, fear and a lack of understanding are the result of being separated from others. “We are separated in our houses, our online bubbles,” he says. “How do we work through those bubbles? We chat.” He adds that we need to let go of ego, recognize others and listen to them. “It’s not about me. It’s about the group. Be careful of your words when speaking to others. Your gestures. Your actions.”
Asked how we can get in a more compassionate frame of mind, Work suggests taking time with nature. Being mindful. He recommends meditation, saying, “It’s a simple practice. Being aware of your mind. Being aware of your body, of others.” He advises, “Stop thinking and just be.”