Shared values are not the same thing as shared humanity. Shared values are based on agreements that come from the head. They form the basis of culture. But it’s our shared humanity that is the basis of community. Our shared humanity is rooted in the honest and caring acknowledgment of our firsthand experience. In truth, the ways in which we meet without pretense are the ways we strengthen the bonds that hold us together.
For example, in the support rooms, waiting rooms, and treatment rooms I was a part of during my cancer journey, we seldom spoke of our religious backgrounds or our politics or worldviews. We were only there to keep each other company, with sensitivity and honesty, so that as many of us as possible could make it through our world of treatments. The highest ethic has always been the courage to be with each other in our pain and to honor each other’s journey. This is what it means to stand in compassion.
During the recession of 2008, banks were foreclosing on homes nationwide, making thousands of families homeless. In Chicago, most of the people being evicted were dilig …
Mark Nepo moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called "one of the finest spiritual guides of our time. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.