developing higher consciousness

Archive for January, 2013

Cultivating Compassionate Community

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

For as long as i can remember, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day primarily meant i got a day off from school. Compulsory education told me this day was meant to honor a charismatic man who facilitated the Civil Rights Movement, but that was the extent of thought i had given in consideration of this national “holiday.” Not until this MLK Day have i gained a deeper understanding and genuine appreciation for what this day, this man – and his legacy – means to me.

In his letter from Birmingham Jail, King, Jr. remarked, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” This rings true in my soul, especially when i remind myself of the atrocities, inequity, and overall misfortune around the world, and recall our common constitution as human beings. Who among us truly doesn’t want to be happy, to belong, and to be free of suffering? In this way, i continually wonder how i might better serve Others, and do so as best as i can. Perhaps as we remember our interconnectedness with the Universe and feel the unparalleled beauty of unity with All That Is, we feel less isolated and more engaged to be a small, but nonetheless significant, part of a greater whole.

A wonderful way to do this is through compassion – a Transformative Power that has the potential to create immediate and everlasting change, as exemplified by Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite facing dire and often hostile circumstances, the revolutionary reverend chose to respond with love instead of reacting with fear. Similar to his example, when i find myself in seemingly tumultuous times where i may feel an ego-based urge to be passive aggressive or to fight fire with fire, i do my best to become aware of it, and allow my breath to cleanse the negatively charged energy, to transmute it into positive action, or to gently let it go. It’s a rather challenging practice, for sure, yet there are abundant opportunities to make progress, starting right Here and Now.

For me it seems to come back to compassion for Others, for the environment, and especially for ourselves. The Dalai Lama once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” How can we act compassionately with those who will inevitably test our limits if we are unable to honor ourselves with unconditional love? Have you smiled today yet? Have you thanked yourself for being who you are? Smile! You are alive and you are exactly who you are supposed to be!

This moment, this new beginning, fills me with joyful optimism. It is at once comforting and empowering to understand that just as Martin Luther King, Jr. had the power to be a leader of something he believed in, i also am able to pursue that which feels right to me, that which will bring about the Greatest Good for the benefit of all. We all have the potential to contribute in our own ways, for we are all blessed with our own talents and abilities. What is essential, as King Jr. encouraged, is that: “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” May we all recognize and reclaim our inherent Transformative Power – that is, our ability to Love unconditionally – and choose to be co-creators of the reality that defines our ephemeral existence as humans and contributes to our eternal experience as Spirit.

Happy MLK Day to each of you…every day.

 

The Story of Our Lives

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.          — Maya Angelou

When i created this blog, i had the intention of sharing my life experience and the invaluable lessons i’ve learned along the way so that Others who happen to read it would perhaps, if only for a moment, receive some sort of value from these words on a screen that they may consider and someday apply to their lives. Suffice it to say, other commitments commanded my attention, and this endeavor i once felt enthusiastic about was soon relegated to the wayside, like a shiny new toy sent to the depths of a toy box because it lost its novelty. Then, something wonderful happened: i chose to write this brief post after becoming inspired while perusing another individual’s beautiful blog, where i came upon the quote above by Maya Angelou.

Sharing is one of those fundamental concepts many of us learn at a young age, yet it seems to rely on material, tangible possessions, i.e. share one’s toys, books, living space. How about those who are less fortunate and don’t have many physical things? Does that then mean they have nothing to offer?

It seems to me we all have something to give, to share—our life story. It is not only our knowledge, but also our wisdom, filled with feelings and emotions that convey a personal, nuanced touch to this common experience we call “life.” Who knows what we may learn from and/or offer to the stranger sitting next to us or the people we may never meet in person?

This is one of the many things i intend to apply and practice more in my life because it only adds to the distinct richness that is my physical existence. Let us not be afraid to share what feels most important to us, what feels right at any given moment. And may we all, to the best of our ability, use every opportunity we are blessed with to create something special, something sacred to add to the unique, unfolding story of our lives.