Does recession makes you less compassionate is an interesting article by Ed and Deb Shapiro. I urge you to read it. The authors make a brilliant analysis of the state of affluence versus the state of poverty. And they conclude by saying: if we relate to the recession with fear, then it will close us down further. If we relate to difficulties with an open heart, then we will enter into a culture of greater sharing and compassion. Our economy is built on greed and a fear of scarcity. But we can transcend this by reaching out to each other in acts of fearless kindness and caring.
For the last decade I have been actively engaged in the charity bizMess and quite frankly I have seen more fear than open hearts. When I began my journey almost exactly 11 years ago, I was a real greenhorn. I felt that it would be easy to ask people around for tiny amounts, the kind that would not make an iota of difference in their lives. Yet it was the richer ones who were the hardest to convince.
The authors of the article refer to what they call the wounds of wealth. These are burdens of expectations, isolation, unhealthy family dynamics and crisis of identity and all these make them more remote and less accessible. On the flip side according to the authors, when one has nothing one is not fearful of being taken advantage of and willing to share the little one has. This is evident in the way a poor man opens his home to you and shares the little he has. Compassion according to the authors comes from a feeling that we are not isolated: We can take off our armor and allow ourselves to be touched and to feel the undefended heart.
I would truly like to believe this to be true. Though till date we have seen the contrary: people backing out of their tiny commitments for fear of losing all. I wish we could in some way ignite compassion in them and have them reach out to those in need. And this not for purely selfish reasons but because the world looks better when you look at it with an open heart.