Radical Compassion

By Kanika Frings


The world is in turmoil. In the small and in the big. Everything is in flux and our common human reaction to change, unfortunately, is a state of defendedness.

Not that it is wrong per se to defend in the face of turmoil, but it does leave little space for a fluid and compassionate responsiveness.


I recall a strong Satsang by the Indian mystic Osho in which he says that the greatest fault in the education system is that we are not teaching children to welcome and embrace the unknown. In the contrary. A child´s natural curiosity and adventurous spirit is often squandered early on in life by fearful adults, fearful societies. Our fascination with the unknown is disheartened by a system that is based on security and safety.

We have forsaken the unknown, made it out to be untrustworthy and scary. We have rapidly changed from a transient people, that moved and changed according to natures cycles with intuitive wisdom and innate resiliency, into a culture that values permanence and predictability before change and the unknown. That all seems very understandable, all things considered, except of course that nature is inherently changing and unknowable and that we are an intrinsic part of nature.


But that’s beside the point. Change is happening and for the most part we are defending against it. This is the reality of today. And that is okay, it is as it is. What is more worrying to me is that in the midst of the unconscious part of scrambling for our survival, our rights, our perspective, beliefs and views we are beginning to divide. We are creating splits amongst us, perpetuated by fear, pain and ego. By believing my way is the right way, by assuming that our viewpoint is the only feasible one, we are creating a rift of disconnection.

I see it all around. In the media, social networks, politics, amongst my friends and family. We are judging, pointing fingers, rolling our eyes. We are getting hurt by the reactions of others and are outraged by those in disagreement with different approaches to our own. There is little space for fluidity and compassion. This is what worries me.


It is a time of shock trauma and trepidation. Our nervous systems are activated and our fight and flight responses are on high alert. It is understandable that it is a time in which we easily become defensive and reactive, and yet….now, more then ever it is detrimental that we nurture connection and hone awareness. This is a time in which compassion is one of our greatest resources. Compassion with ourselves and each other. Compassion for our reactivity, as well as for our strategies to deal with the fear and the pain that are surfacing during these times and the strategies with which others are dealing with the same.

Even if it does not suit our value system or our beliefs. Let us not let our egos and our woundedness divide us even further in a time where we need to hold each other with love and solidarity, because we are all effected as a human species. Nobody is untouched. Not even those that are ignorant or numb to it all, this too is a strategy of survival.


Not to say that we can not voice our doubts or express our hurts and outrage, but please, lets remember that we are all doing the best we can for where we are at, with the capacity and insight we have available to us.

Let us, instead of pointing outward, practice seeing and owning our own triggers, so we can bring awareness to how we contribute to the perpetuation of separation, so we can make different choices, informed by greater wisdom than the ego´s narrow outlook will ever be capable of. So we can “be the change that we want to see in the world”.


Perhaps you can find compassion in your heart for the fears that you feel exaggerated in others, or for the overwhelm you sense in yourself. Perhaps you can take a moment to put yourself into someone else´s shoes before lashing out or condemning. We know so little of what moves another, what reasons are behind someones behaviours and reactions.

Let us not assume we know the answers or suppose our way is the better one. Our point of view is more valid then another´s.


May compassion permit us to expand our horizon a little further, allowing for our and others shortcomings, creating more space within ourselves and amongst each other as we are collectively trying to navigate the current upheavals.

May we choose connection over separation and let that be the guiding principle in the approaches we choose.


With Love,