Compassion

Bringing A Child With Autism to the Theater? This Reaction Might Surprise You.

Bringing A Child With Autism to the Theater? This Reaction Might Surprise You.

The following is an excerpt from the book, How To Live A Good Life by Jonathan Fields.

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“I am angry and sad,” Kelvin Moon Loh’s Facebook post began.  “Just got off stage from today’s matinee and yes, something happened.  Someone brought their autistic child to the theater.”

Loh was in the Broadway cast of The King and I, and a mom came to see the show with her son, who was apparently autistic.  During an intense moment Loh described as “the whipping scene,” the child yelped and then, according to reports, became inconsolable.  Loh wrote, “His voice pierced the theater.  The audience started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed.  I heard murmurs of ‘Why would you bring a child like that to the theater?'”

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“We have to continue to practice mindfulness and reconciliation until we can see a child’s body of skin and bones in Uganda or Ethiopia as our own, until the hunger and pain in the bodies of all species are our own.  Then we will have realized nondiscrimination, real love.  Then we can look at all beings with the eyes of compassion, and we can do the real work to help alleviate suffering.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

“The source of love is deep in us, and we can help others realize a lot of happiness.  One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy.  One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation.  One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity.  One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions.  If love is in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

When you understand, you cannot help but love.

“When you understand, you cannot help but love.  You cannot get angry.  To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all loving beings with the eyes of compassion.  When you understand, you cannot help but love.  And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

The More:

Quote in action:  Suppose your son wakes up one morning and sees that it is already quite late.  He decides to wake up his younger sister, to give her enough time to eat breakfast before going to school.  It happens that she is grouchy and instead of saying, “Thank you for waking me up,” she says, “Shut up! Leave me alone!” and kicks him.  He will probably get angry, thinking, “I woke her up nicely.  Why did she kick me?”  He may want to go to the kitchen and tell you about it, or even kick her back.  But then he remembers that during the night his sister coughed a lot, and he realizes that she must be sick.  Maybe she behaved so meanly because she has a cold.  At that moment, he understands, and he is not angry at all anymore.

Comment:  Have you ever had a moment of understanding that dissolved all of your anger towards another person?

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce.  You look into the reasons it is not doing well.  It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun.  You never blame the lettuce.  Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person.  But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce.  Blaming has not positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments.  That is my experience.  No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.  If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

“Someone who speaks badly to us may have been spoken to in exactly the same way just the day before, or by his alcoholic father when he was a child.  When we see and understand these kinds of causes, we can begin to be free from our anger.  I am not saying that someone who viciously attacks us should not be disciplined.  But what is most important is that we first take care of the seeds of negativity in ourselves.  Then if someone needs to be helped or disciplined, we will do so out of compassion, not anger and retribution.  If we genuinely try to understand the suffering of another person, we are more likely to act in a way that will help him overcome his suffering and confusion, and that will help all of us.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

“Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way.  Wherever I go, I express this, and I am encouraged that people from many different walks of life receive it well.  Peace must first be developed within an individual.  And I believe that love, compassion, and altruism are the fundamental basis for peace.  Once these qualities are developed within an individual, he or she is then able to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony.  This atmosphere can be expanded and extended from the individual to his family, from the family to the community and eventually to the whole world.” ~ Dalai Lama, via Peace is Every Step

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