I wake up at 3:22 AM. I go to empty my bladder and return to bed. Normally, I’d fall back to sleep in a matter of ten minutes or less. But, tonight is different. I’m awake for over an hour. Thoughts are churning in my head that just won’t go away. My mindfulness technique of distracting myself with other thoughts doesn’t work. Normally, when I’m in this state it’s because I’m worried about something, but not tonight.
I’m stick on the word “compassionist”. A gentleman I met recently and whom I’ve done a couple of interviews with for his YouTube show introduced me to the term compassionist. Since I became a universalist (Christian) fifteen or so years ago I have struggled with how to label myself. I’m a follower of Jesus. I try to emulate Him as much as possible, but I’m so far from traditional Christianity, I can’t call myself a Christian. I don’t believe in substitutionary atonement, I think most of the Bible is myth. The Bible is full of blatant errors, both factual and moral. I could take or leave the idea of the Trinity. I’ve studied Buddhism. I’m a big fan of the Buddha. I meditate and practice mindfulness. But, I haven’t taken the vows and I don’t attend a sangha. I’m a fan of Gandhi. I’m a fan of MLK. There aren’t any religions around them, though. I’ve become a huge follower of Swedenborg. There’s brilliance in a lot of what he says and the things that were revealed to him make a lot of sense to me. I found out a few weeks ago there is a Swedenborg (actually two) church in town. But, I don’t think I’ll ever be a Swedenborgian.
So, what do all of these things have in common? What is the simplest common core? It’s compassion. Compassion is what I most admire. Compassion is what I most want to develop. Swedenborg says when we are judged, we are judged not by the outcomes of our actions. We have no control over outcomes. We aren’t judged because we did “good” things because “good” things can be done for the wrong reasons (like self-aggrandizement). We can do “bad” things thinking we are doing the right thing. We are judged based on our hearts. We are judged based on our intentions. Compassion. it all comes back to compassion.
My friend who has interviewed me contacted me a few days ago and says they’d like to do another show with me. Yesterday, someone told me that she recently connected with me on Facebook and likes the message I’m spreading. That’s good. That’s what’s going through my mind. How do I do more of that? How do I reach more people? I’ve got some ideas. Those are flowing through my head, too. We’ll see what develops.
Anyone can be a compassionist. You don’t have to believe in unbelievable things. You don’t have to decide if there is God or not. You don’t have to decide if you believe in life after life or not. You don’t have to pray five times a day. All you have to do is try to develop and spread as much compassion for your fellow humans as possible. Atheist or theist, it makes no difference.
So, that’s it. I am a compassionist. My religion is compassionism.
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