Friday, December 30, 2011

Occupy In My Brain

I've grown accustomed to getting roused out of sleep by a song in my head.  Normally, it's something out of the Episcopal Hymnal.  Sometimes it's one of the many New Age pieces that play as I do my massage therapy practice.  But yesterday, I woke up on a tune by the Talking Heads that I hadn't heard in years.  I knew it was from their first album.  I knew it was the end of Side A.   But for the life of me, I couldn't remember the name of the tune.

Internet to the rescue!

I remembered the lyrics...

In a world... where people have problems.
In this world... where decisions are a way of life.
Other people's problems... they overwhelm my mind.
They say compassion is a virtue... but I don't have the time.

The song is called, "No Compassion" written by David Byrne.  And it seemed to be speaking to me about many things in my life, particularly as I observe the life outside my own internal experience.  

That has seemed to be the theme for me leading into this Christmas season: a need to move outside of my own experience and take on what's in the world.  All during the last week in Advent I was getting poked and prodded by a different song, one from our hymnal, in which the angel Gabriel delivers the news that Mary is to bear the Son of God because she is the "most highly favored Lady, Gloria!"  Mary's willingness to take on this task was a not-too-subtle message of pushing me forward in this magical mystery tour with God.  And part of that is to acknowledge where we are, and where I am and stand, in this mucked-up mess of the world.

Inequity is everywhere.  And those in power seem to stop at nothing to keep their lock down on having more resources than anyone else and keeping control.  That seems to be the challenge now rising up from the Occupy Wall Street and its spawn of Occupy movements across the country.  A cry has been heard in the wilderness that too many of us have been forced to live by the seat of our pants while a small minority continuously reap the benefits of tax breaks and subsidies.  The OWS grew despite a weeks long media black out about what was happening in New York City.  And while their encampments have been closed down in many locations, and there's a struggle over property rights in NYC with Trinity Wall Street, there is a new consciousness that I believe may have the defenders of the super-rich (aka the Republican Party) feeling just a tad bit nervous going into the 2012 elections.   I think the challenge for OWS will be to maintain its water-like ways of simply migrating and moving without disbanding and funnel its revolt into a juggernaut that isn't so much about occupying physical spaces, but changing the psychological space in the minds of the American public.

In some communities, that has happened.  Occupiers took over homes that had been foreclosed on by the banks.   And the displaced families were amazed to see total strangers taking a stand with them.  These are the seeds that build the relationships that I think are being lost in our hyperspeed information age.  And this is how the 99-percent can finally come together to become a political force.

What does any of this have to do with "No Compassion?"  I think it comes back to my overall observation of the world.  There isn't a whole lot of compassion out there, or if there is, it's not being expressed out of being overwhelmed by the hugeness of the compassion void.  And that's why each of us has to act and respond to a call of compassion.  Put aside differences and work with each other.    

Here we go again...


Anonymous said...

Another good observation, Susan dear.


Phoebe McFarlin said...

Sometimes I am haunted by the image from "Jesus Christ Superstar" where he is overcome be the crowds needing so much. But then I am encouraged by the stories of the difference a glass of milk made in a boy's life... the compassion of a trooper caring for an orphan and am reminded, every compassionate act makes a difference!

Anonymous said...

You are right, Phoebe, Happy New Year!