This week I’m on Pause for Thought, a BBC Radio 2 show that selects guests presenters for short inspirational messages. Each day I’ll post up the transcript for the show together with the audio for both listen again opportunities and as a personal archive.
Today’s broadcast can be heard by clicking on the play button below:
Transcript from today’s PfT: ( Agreed with the Producer).
What inspires you? It was a question I posed for a bit of fun to my friends on Facebook the other day.
I was expecting them to reply with answers such as a beautiful landscape, a wonderful piece of music, children, or the do-or-die commitment of a sporting hero.
But the first response I received back was much deeper. It simply said: ‘Compassion’. In other words, a simple human act or emotion towards another in pain or trouble.
It sounds so simple doesn’t it? But then again, in our heart-of-hearts, we know that we too often fail to show self-less compassion when we find colleagues, neighbours, or strangers in need? Too often we walk-on by. No wonder my friend found true acts of compassion an inspiration.
Of course the cynic might argue that there is no such thing as selfless compassion.
“Hold on”, I hear you cry! “I give to charity when I see or hear about a worthy cause.” But our donation, the cynic would say, gives us a feel good factor. We shouldn’t kid ourselves that there isn’t a positive benefit to our giving.
“But what about my children? I bring them up and don’t think twice about caring for them or protecting them. I give selflessly.” But our reward for the care and concern we show our children comes, the cynic would argue, with the love that our children show to us in return.
Even a birthday present isn’t apparently such an innocent gift because we give expecting one in return.
All the great faiths refer to the importance of showing compassion to others. Christians have the story of the Good Samaritan and the Dalai Lama once encouraged his followers with the words: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” So maybe, while true acts of compassion are rarer than we think, that’s not what’s important.
In the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Patshah is quoted as saying: “Make compassion the cotton, contentment the thread, modesty the knot and truth the twist. This is the sacred thread of the soul.”