Bishop John Shelby Spong
June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021

Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those of us who did not connect with traditional theology.
We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed!

Compass-u-ionate

 

 
For the sake of learning, I’d like to ask you to consider the circumstances since the start of 2020 as a grand psychological experiment.

Of course, it has not been.

But considering how we might react if this were a lab experiment can help us find some great compassion for the difficulties we are experiencing now.

So, let’s imagine that it is a story and you work with the researchers.

Imagine that you begin your grand experiment by introducing a great amount of uncertainty:
 
* “There is a deadly virus that we don’t know much about, except that it is highly contagious and we don’t have the ability to stop it.”
* Have leaders of government and science offer contradictory reports
* Do not allow research subjects to touch their friends or see half of each other’s faces except on video
* Choreograph the murders of minority groups by those sworn to protect them

And wait.
See what happens.

* Do they start to get nervous tics? Do they start more fights? Will they still go out of their way to be nice to each other?
* What trends do we see in terms of people accessing nature?
* Orchestrate what seems to be the near collapse of government

And watch.

Which might you expect the research subjects to experience?

* Flashbacks to other traumas?
* Generally Distrust / Fear
* Lots of laughter?
* Community withdrawal?
* Confusion / Despair / Fatigue?
* Anxiety? Substance abuse?
* Violence?
* Nonetheless, deep spiritual self care?

And what do you imagine the research subjects might experience as the restrictions are suddenly lifted?

(That’s how you are today.)

In my work as a rabbi, I have found many good people have an easier time being compassionate to others who are in their same circumstance.

That’s why I asked you to imagine this as a grand psychological experience. Because you know you would be compassionate to THAT OTHER person.

Remember to be kind to yourself.
Continue self-compassion.

This has been a rough year and a half.

Indeed.
 

Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer resides in Portland, Oregon. He is the founder and head of Religion-Outside-The-Box, an internet-based, global group of 3.3K+ digital-age seekers. ROTB produces excellent spiritual content.

Review & Commentary