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I Want to Be Compassionate Toward Homeless People, But...

During last week’s Spiritual Workout for Politics & Current Events Online Drop-In, one of our participants wanted to talk about the distress she was in while attempting to reconcile her desire to be a compassionate person with her desire not to have unhoused people roaming and sleeping on the streets of her neighborhood or in her local park.


She was really torn and most definitely not alone. We batted it around, like we do, looking at the issue through the lens the 15 concepts that make up our practice — and here’s some of what we came up with.


Be present. It’s always good practice to begin from a place of neutrality/presence. That means not resisting anything that is and, instead, accepting it all without any judgment — a potentially tall order in and of itself. For this Spiritual Workouter, that included not judging the unhoused people themselves and not judging her local city council and or larger government entities at the county, state, and federal levels. It also meant not judging others and not worrying about being judged by others. We got here however we got here; it is what it is. It’s definitely not what I personally want to see and experience, but it’s what we have.


From there, she could look at the situation as being far less about eradicating homelessness — something she’s not able to do much about on her own and which keeps her feeling anxious and unsettled — and far more about finding a path for some personal growth and development.

We are here for a reason. From a place of neutrality, there are often a number of avenues to explore and this is one of them. When we find ourselves in situations not to our liking, it’s helpful to remember that we are here for a reason. It’s a belief in and of itself to which one may or may not ascribe. It means there are no accidents; it means we all got born on purpose for a purpose; it means that there is an opportunity for growth on a soul level if we look for what it is. We ask: Who do I have to be or what muscle do I have to grow or develop in order to navigate to a more peaceful place? I always call the answer to that question a project and, in this case, her project — a reason why she might find herself in this unwelcome situation at least on a soul level — was learning not to care so much about what other people think. We knew we nailed it because her reaction was, oh that again. Exactly. On a soul level, we will continue find ourselves in situations that challenge us to grow. They will show up over the years in various ways but always for the same reason. In this scenario, she couldn’t deny that learning not to care so much about what others think is, for sure, an ongoing theme in her life. And that’s all the information needed to know she’d landed on an appropriate project for her Self.


From there, she could look at the situation as being far less about eradicating homelessness — something she’s not able to do much about on her own and which keeps her feeling anxious and unsettled — and far more about finding a path for some personal growth and development. “So this is about helping me be confident in and about the opinions I have, being willing to express them, and not caring about the judgments of others.” Well, yes! She could then see it far less as a huge societal issue over which she had no control on her own but one that, for her, is custom-made for what it engenders in her. This is true for all of us whenever we find ourselves in unwelcome circumstances.


As for the piece that she or any of us, individually, don’t seem capable of fixing this societal problem herself, there is always intention — thinking about what we want — because the law of attraction is always on. For most of us who do not operate in the political realm on a professional level, we can still apply good conscious practice on our own — and in concert with others when possible — by, at a minimum, thinking about what’s desired instead of what is not desired.


This is where she and all of us struggle. What does it look like when everyone in America has a place to live? Hmmm. She couldn’t even answer at first and this happens all the time. We are so used to focusing on the problem and spend little to no time focusing on the solution or what we’d prefer to see when the problem is no longer a problem. We’re not bad people, we’re not criminals, we’re just not practiced. It’s called a workout for a reason and she got a workout, Spiritual Workout-style, just taking 5–10 minutes to start imagining and articulating what it might be like — in her own neighborhood and beyond — when everyone has a place to live. And that helps everything.

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