Compassion is not fashion

We read about it, we study it, and many of us attend a weekly Buddhist service that deals in compassion.
But I wonder if this is just the clothes we wear at certain times. Sort of a fashion statement that we practice loving kindness and compassion.

I remember many years ago when I was a practicing Christian, I traveled to the far South Side of Chicago to attend a Southern Baptist church. I truly was the only White person there.
Everyone in the congregation welcomed me with open arms. I was treated like a dear friend who had been coming there for years. I was so moved by this, and touched by the warmth and kindness of these people.
After the service, I wanted to speak to the Pastor who ran the church to tell him how I felt.
He was very happy to hear what I had to say, but offered some additional insight. He said that he wishes these people were like that when they walked out of the church. But unfortunately, he said most of them are not like that. He said many are alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals and Wife beaters.
My heart sank into my stomach! How could these wonderful people be such awful people after Sunday service was over?
Well, I think it is very similar to what I am talking about with Buddhist practice.
How many of us put on our “Sunday best” so to speak, just one day a week? We might even try to carry this over to our Facebook profile, so that the World will think we truly practice what we preach.
But none of this hides the truth of who we are, or our true intentions. This is our karma that we create every moment. This is the reality we live with.
It’s like the old saying, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”.
We have an opportunity to live and breath kindness and compassion every moment.
I do my best to be mindful of this myself. Each moment, each word, action and intention, is the only one that matters.
But please don’t think that I am telling you I practice this as diligently as I suggest. I am only saying that I try.
What I have learned from my practice, is to see almost immediately when I fail. No sooner do the words come out of my mouth, then I realize I should not have said that. I should not have judged or let my ego take over. I see my ignorance and unskillful behavior.
But then I smile to myself. Because I realize I am at least making progress.
And like they say, practice makes perfect (Paramita).

Have a wonderful moment. And may you be well, happy and peaceful.