By Paul Anthony Morris
The development of my new play Sarai, which is scheduled for production in the autumn, explores as its central theme the idea of embracing personal suffering as a means to fulfilling ones passion, goals and dreams.
This theme which was initially situated within the context of antiquity led to the following question in relation to the challenges that we face in modernity - ‘How do we individually cultivate optimism and creativity when the narratives we encounter on a daily basis (political, religious & media) are so competitive, negative and divisive?
It is against this backdrop that the cry for more tangible manifestations of compassion is being alarmed by individuals from all sections of society; but not solely as practiced in isolation by the adepts and hermits of antiquity but through the everyday life styles of ordinary citizens.
A compassionate creative practice is a lifestyle that is lived with intention. It is not passive or reactionary. No longer is the individual solely aroused, in the defence of humanity, by unjust edicts or random acts of violence but rather they perceive their life style of compassion as a preventive initiative one which fosters a more dynamic and substantial expression of our global well being.
Conflicts emphasize the areas where compassion is most needed to resolve ever increasing tensions and divisions.
The objective in such instances for individuals adopting a more compassionate life style is not, as some have proposed, a rallying cry to increase our levels of tolerance but rather to demonstrate through everyday actions the increasing power and capacity of compassion to fully redeem and restore our relationships.
A compassionate creative practice is a life style that is lived with intention
As stated earlier the protagonist in my play Sarai chooses to embrace her suffering by using it as a platform to transform herself within the context of the laws and mores of her society in order to become the Founder of a new nation with an inclusive cultural philosophy. However in modernity we are seduced by the mainstream media into neglecting this alternative process of personal transformation at great cost not only to ourselves but to loved ones and the wider global community.
So the question which I originally posed at the beginning of this article ‘How do we cultivate optimism and creativity when the narratives we encounter on a daily basis (political, religious & media) are relentlessly negative and divisive’ requires from you and I well thought out answers and simple everyday compassionate examples that not only stem the decline (hatred, fear, depression and paranoia) that is being perpetuated by these aggressive narratives in the media but also highlights an alternative altruistic approach to living and dealing, on a day to day basis, with some of the most complex and difficult issues of our modern era.