Saturday, October 17, 2009

Overcoming Numbness

Television often saturates the senses so that they become immune to responding emotionally and with humanity to scenes of violence or cruelty.

News media also saturate the senses so that they become immune to hearing or seeing people committing atrocities or being harmed.

In the face of sensory and emotional saturation with the pain of the world, it is easy to become numb, just as it is easy to become numb in the face of one's own deep pain. And yet numbness is not the best solution to this problem for it merely suppresses the pain that one feels temporarily; it does not do away with it.

What is more useful for the world at large and for each individual who is growing is to bear witness to pain with a sense of compassion - with a heart that is larger than the pain itself. By bearing witness with a sense of compassion, by making oneself 'an instrument of peace' to use the expression of Saint Francis - "Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace," the pain can be held within the context of an overriding purpose to help. Even a small amount of bearing witness without becoming numb is often a greater help than one ever knows.

"Make me an instrument of Thy peace and love" opens the heart, allows healing to begin, and sends love into the world. In the presence of conflict, suffering, and pain, it creates the full intentionality to bring healing love to all who suffer or are afraid, including oneself.

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