Tonight a few friends and I gathered together to watch the documentary Scared Sacred. It follows a Canadian’s journey to all the “ground zeros” of the world. He goes to Hiroshima, The Killing Fields, an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan and New York City. He goes to all of these places where terrible things happened to innocent people and tries to find the sacred in the scared. It is a beautiful picture of healing, forgiveness and hope.

One of the things that he repeatedly said was that we need to “breath in suffering and breath out compassion.” This is a hard yet beautiful way to see life. To many times we encounter horrible things and we just let them pass over us and then we move on with our lives. When I went to Cambodia last year and heard and saw what happened during the reign of the Khmer Rouge it was overwhelming. Even thought it was so overwhelming I had the potential to just turn around and move on with my life, or to stop, breath in their suffering and in some way breath out compassion for these people.

The same thing can happen right here at home. We hear of people being treated unjustly, we see a lonely elderly person, we encounter homeless people on the street and the tendency is to just give a sigh and move on. What would it look like if we were to stop and breath in their suffering and breath out compassion? Would we start to look at life differently? Would we start to look at our responsibility on this earth differently? Would we be more prone to act in situations that move us? I think so. This is how I am starting to live my life and already I am seeing a difference. There is a sign on a church billboard by my house that says’ will the world be a better place because you lived? I hope so.

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One comment so far on “Breathe in suffering, breathe out compassion

  1. Chris says:

    I wanna check out this film. thanks for the post…it’s hard to not get overwhelmed! I think the sigh is a defense thing but we have to shake ourselves and not let up. My tendency is toward laziness and letting go. I think, “I did my bit now i can let up.” but we cannot. It’s so important to not let up and that’s when stuff like this helps. Thanks.

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