Our modern state of affairs makes it difficult to relate to some of our most prominent historical and spiritual inspirations. Take Quan Yin, the goddess-rendition of the ancient Buddhist, though male, bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara.
Unable to relate to the thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara, the legend surrounding Avalokiteshvara’s great compassion is provided as a rational explanation to the bewilderment of societies past. How can we take the lessons of this great master, and make them relevant to today? In brief, how can we identify with this compassionate rebel?
Avalokiteshvara, as both God and Goddess, is thought to be the perfect embodiment of compassion, but this is no dumpy, door-mat of a spiritual figurehead. Whether the tales surrounding Avalokiteshvara are simply spiritual metaphors or actual events matters not. When we begin on the path of becoming a bodhisattva, we are bound to run into some of the same tribulations – as outlined by both Carl Jung and reiterated by Joseph Cambpell in their descriptions of the Hero’s journey, an archetypal path from mere human being to ascended spiritual master.
When we begin our path of helping others, we are bound to be disheartened, due to our unperfected Compassion and Wisdom.
We will either succumb to the obstacles we must face, and lose our Bodhicitta (the heart of wishing to help all beings, along with oneself, attain Enlightenment) or overcome them and become stronger — like Avalokiteshvara. So – we have to become rebellious in the sense, that we cannot give up our intent to become more compassionate, even in a world that seems to forever lose its own empathy and heart like a dying horse in a desert.
We can’t lose our Bodhicitta, or we’ll come to a spiritual standstill. This is not permitted on the Hero’s Journey for long. Though we are always given the free will to determine which battles to face, they will come louder and stronger as a way to bring us back to our Highest Selves, unobscured by the shadows and dark side of self-aggrandizing ego.
Here are five signs that you are a compassionate rebel – a bodhisattva in the making:
- You read books from multiple religions. You may have been raised Christina, Buddhist, Jain, Sufi, or Amish, but you are open to spiritual wisdom no matter where it comes from. Truth is compassion in action. The qualities of kindness, earnestness, selflessness, and empathy are prevalent in all religions. You don’t close yourself off from others by insisting it’s your way or the highway. By having an open mind, you welcome an open heart that is more likely to be compassionate toward others.
- You look for ways to be kind without attracting attention to yourself. Scientific studies have already proven that random acts of kindness benefit the receiver just as much as the giver, but a true bodhisattva doesn’t try to draw attention to their kind deeds They do them quietly, and sometimes even invisibly, and revel in the knowing that they are changing the world with each small act.
- You actively root out all preconceived notions about people, and circumstances. In a world of massive social programming, it can be difficult to stay compassionate. However, a compassionate rebel like yourself will always try to look at facts, and research the evidence down to its core, without taking things at face value in an effort to keep their minds untethered to the myriad ways in which we are taught to find wrongness in the “other.” In other words, you observe, not just see.
- You make a habit of understanding yourself better when you run into challenges involving others. Those mirror neurons we all poses will inevitably make it difficult to look at our own actions and beliefs from a completely transparent place. If you have a problem with someone else, it usually is a call from Higher Intelligence to look into something within yourself that needs healing. A rebellious bodhisattva realizes that no true change in the world happens without changing themselves first.
- You extend loving thoughts to even those who mistreat you. There is likely no higher levels of compassion than to extend thoughts of care and kindness to those who don’t treat us as we wish – even more so to those who try to purposefully harm us either physically or emotionally. This is one of the rarest rebellions against a lower vibration. Try it in small doses, and see what it does for you.