I’m really good at not touching my face. I learned how NOT to do it in Kung Fu class, back in college. If class had started, and you fidgeted, scratched, or moved at all from your attentive stance–it had better been a movement to turn around. If you turned around, you could take care of any pesky hairs stabbing you in the eye, or any other discomfort you were feeling. If you broke concentration and, for example, touched your face, you’d get assigned push-ups.
So, after many years and many hundred times that count in push-ups, I’m a professional at not touching my face. It’s true; there are few who are better at it. You could ask my friends, but don’t, because they’ve got more important things to deal with right now.
I also learned how to punch and kick and defend myself, but the current threat doesn’t require that kind of training. The discipline of self-mastery is important today with COVID-19, but I learned something even more important during those long, late Kung Fu classes… I learned compassion.
It wasn’t a core skill taught between the back stomp kick and the double arm-block from crouching stance, it was a necessary education for all who went on to teach the art–which I did. That’s a different story, and it’s one that I don’t have time for right now.
There’s something more important to learn.
What the world needs right now–besides resources and equipment to help patients recover and to prevent more from suffering–is compassion. It’s one of the greatest tools we possess as social beings, and it’s something that we need to be sharing, more than ever.
It can take many forms: letting someone merge in front of you even though they knew their lane was closing, waving hello to someone from the other side of the street, supporting a friend through a hard moment, remaining civil when emotions are high, thanking the person behind the register, supporting a small business, staying in touch with those who worry about you, or innumerable other examples.
Showing compassion for others–in your family, neighborhood, community, nation, or on the other side of the world–not only helps others, it pays incalculable dividends to your own happiness and sense of worth. The only cost it carries is your effort, and the return on that investment can change the world.
Compassion straight-up makes the world a better place to live, and right now, I, for one, would really appreciate that.