Naturally there were calls for picketing at this asshole's funeral. It only makes sense, right?
Take the high road or go for the thrill of revenge? Is compassion free for all, even those who seemingly don't deserve it? Are you a better person because you are compassionate unconditionally?
Rewind a whole bunch...
I had a lengthy chat with my buddy Jesus about compassion and forgiveness. Jesus has been a long-time advocate for compassion, even for those who literally killed him... yes, I know, Jesus came back three days after his brutal murder, talked to his bros, flew to heaven, yadayadayada, but that's a different story... anyway, you can imagine how traumatized Jesus was when he heard about the Fred Phelps and his rabid preaching of hate... all is done in the name of Jesus.
"That ain't what I said, Fred!", said Jesus. "I don't hate! I hate people who hate! I love everyone! Take my name off your bullshit! Baaaaaaah!"
When I asked Jesus about compassion and forgiveness, he said "don't mix those up and don't ever freely dispense them."
"Buddy... I mean Jesus... could you be more specific?"
"Naaaa, the sarcastic one, you'll figure it out... hey Peter! Stop sniffing my dirty athletic supporters!..."
Fast forward slightly...
My parents are special in the wrong ways, particularly my dad. It's a miracle that I turned out to be such a sweet, loving person. But this blog isn't a rant on child abuse or bad parenting, so let's just say my dad is an asshole. Naturally I had the kind of upbringing that induces resentment and anger, which has become the force behind my acidic devotion to love and compassion, particular for assholes. Yeah, right.
My dad had a stroke a few years ago, so he has trouble with his speech and sometimes drools uncontrollably. One day he went on his typical yelling tirade on some unknown shit. That was my queue to have a shouting match with him. But I couldn't understand a word he was spitting out. I was distracted by his drool flying uncontrollably in all directions.
At that moment, my resentment and anger towards my dad had strangely disappeared. I didn't say anything and simply let him blow off his steam... mostly vapour from his drool.
Fast forward some more...
Yoga has been an important part of my life for the last 800 years. I'd fly all over the place to do workshops and immersions. I even completed a 200-hour teacher training while I had no intention of becoming a yoga teacher, though I eventually became one. It's fair to say I have spent a few pretty dollars on learning from our dear friend John the asshole guru sans testicles. When our dear friend John turned out to be such an asshole, the nuclear explosions and meltdowns that followed were of epic proportion. His new vital coven angels are relentlessly preaching for compassion and love, while spewing out fecal matter on anyone who challenges his latest recycled gimmick "bow spring yoga", or whatever shit he's calling it now.
I wonder... if our dear friend John the asshole guru sans testicles or any of his coven angels were on fire, would I piss on them?
|The goddess of compassion, our dear friend John Sans Testicles|
We had the worst mass murder in our city's history. You can read about it here. Five young people with a promising future ahead of them were stabbed to death for seemingly no reason, by another young person who also had a promising future ahead of him. It was particularly hard to watch the suspect's father read his statement to the media.
I can't help but feel sorry for the families and the suspect. Is it possible to have compassion for someone who's done such a horrible thing?
Fast forward even more...
I find it absurd that "I urge compassion" has been thrown around as if it's a catch phrase that has the healing power for all or the moral thing to do.
Like anger or happiness, compassion is a feeling. Imagine your cat just died and someone comes up to you and say, "I urge you to feel happy". Or better yet, when you are constipated and someone comes up to you and say, "I urge you to feel less constipated". If someone did that to me while I was trying to pinch a loaf, I'd tell him/her to get a cactus and go fuck him/herself.
You simply cannot urge someone to feel in any way because that's manipulation of someone else's feeling. Frankly people who force others to be compassionate unconditionally should A) look up what "compassion" really means, or B) get a cactus... and they know what to do with it without anal lubricant... for attempting to manipulate and dismiss others' feelings.
Let's deal with group B) first: your feelings are not better or more valid than mine. That means "compassion" is neither a tool one can use to judge others, nor a get-out-of-jail-free card. You are a not better person than I am simply because you "claim to have compassion" for whoever when I don't. This is particularly true for those who try to hide their true intentions behind their campaign for compassion. The fact is no matter how they sugarcoat their judgmental sentiment, their passive-aggressive nature has not gone unnoticed. I am well versed with anger management fascists so they can just respectfully shut the fuck up. I will feel compassion when I feel compassion. Thank you very much.
*Phew*... there, I'm done with my angry rant. Ha!
Simply put: my feelings and emotions are my responsibility and mine to experience. Don't talk like you are the authority of my feelings and "suggest" how I should feel based on my own experience. Criticizing others for feeling their feelings, or invalidating others' emotions, is just another form of manipulation laced with arrogance, regardless of the amount of flowery language you use. Stop being an emotion bully.
In regards to the misguided group A), perhaps what those people advocate is kindness rather than control of someone else's feelings, or specifically to choose a course of action that's less hostile or destructive. Being kind is a choice to behave in a way deemed to be gentle, pleasant and show concern for others. You can still be angry, but you can take a kind approach to deal with the situation. You can choose to be kind to yourself, to others, or both.
A kind approach is not necessarily the right approach. But I'm not going to get into that now. The subject of this blog is already complicated enough.
In the case of Fred Phelps, I have no compassion for him. But I feel sorry for him for being such a hateful and hated person. The kind thing to do is not picketing at his funeral, even though it is so tempting to piss on his grave.
I have no idea what my feelings are towards my dad since they change as frequently as Lady Gaga's wigs. Our relationship is a big clutter of fucks. It is what it is.
I do have compassion for all the families in that mass murder case, including the suspect's family and the suspect himself. It's tragedy all around.
As for our dear friend John the asshole guru sans testicles... I'll kindly give him a cactus and he knows what to do with it.
You own your compassion. Save it for those who truly deserve it.