Peace is not just the absence of violence but the manifestation of human compassion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind.

Kahlil Gibran

 

The following words recently arrived in my inbox and are surely worth reflecting on. They come from another heart-based initiative bringing humanity that much closer to maturity and peace.

 As we plan to grow the Charter for Compassion, we are reflecting on the many signs of peace and compassion among us today. These voices grow in confidence as we respond to the harmful rhetoric around an Islamic community center in New York and an unprecedented natural disaster in Pakistan. Opportunities for dialogue, compassionate action, empathy, altruism, and forgiveness are in abundance and we invite you all to rise to the challenge for a more compassionate world.

Visit the site and add your name to the charter:

http://charterforcompassion.org/   

Charter Updates

This fall, we begin our focus on three key initiative areas for the Charter—youth engagement, compassionate cities, and congregational life and interfaith dialogue. Resource development, partner engagement, and website enhancements are also part of this work. We will share more details with you over the following weeks and look forward to working with you to spread the Charter for Compassion.

In November, the Charter for Compassion celebrates its first anniversary. To honor this special day, we are planning an exciting event in conjunction with the United Nations in New York City. More information to follow! As you continue to hold events that celebrate the Charter, November would be a wonderful time to renew your commitment to compassion and plan to celebrate the anniversary. As an example, Amsterdam continues to inspire us with their planning and commitments. Mozes & Aaronkerk recently offered an update:

On November 11, Charter supporters will celebrate compassion with lectures, workshops, music and a Hindu fire ritual. On November 20, TEDxYouth @Amsterdam will participate in TEDxYouthDay in support of the Charter culminating with a presentation of the Dutch translation of the Children’s Charter for Compassion.

The Charter Community

Karen Armstrong 

In light of the Qu’ran burning threats and the Mosque debate, Karen was inspired to respond in the midst of a busy lecture season. The Huffington Post ran her piece as the lead article on the religion section on Saturday, September 11.  

Flooding in Pakistan 

TED Curator Chris Anderson and his wife Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund spent five days on the ground in Pakistan to see for themselves the devastation caused by the floods that have displaced 20 million individuals and destroyed or damaged over 6 million homes. Committed to sharing this story and asking for action, Chris shared this blog entry and videos and Jacqueline journaled extensively. There are countless stories of compassion, hardship and healing sprinkled throughout the wealth of important facts about this disaster the world must attend to.

Monterrey, Mexico 

A major world conference addressing values and culture and human rights, Encuentro Mundial – Valores y Cultura de la Legalidad, will occur in Monterry, Mexico later this month. Children’s activities will be aimed towards the practice of compassion and peace, the Department of Education of Nuevo León will be participating with a campaign where the Charter for Compassion’s message will be shared in dozens of schools.  Over 25,000 students will write messages for peace and practice acts of compassion. These efforts will be documented and published on a special issue in a local paper on Saturday, October 2nd.

 

News from the Charter Facebook Page

We are struck by the use of the Charter Facebook page to share deep insights, offer inspiring updates, and examples of compassion from around the globe. Here are a few from the past few weeks:

Last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, many of you reposted this line from the Charter for Compassion, along with a pledge to always live compassionately: ‘”The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves…” We remember and honor the compassion shown to those directly and indirectly impacted by the events of 9/11. Let us bring compassionate to our daily lives again, especially now, especially when it is difficult. In response, Sarah wrote, “This September 11th, we can best honor those who died by turning our backs on hatred, and generating compassion (loving kindness). Is it easy? No. Is it better than the alternative? DEFINITELY!!”

In response to the proposed Qu’ran burning, many of you responded with thoughtful comments and links. Michael responded to Pastor Jones, “Dear Pastor Terry Jones, thank you for helping me see more clearly than ever before, the wisdom and dire necessity for the Charter for Compassion. Maybe that was your mission all along? … I will spread the Charter’s message, and I will stand up for the rights of my Muslim neighbors.”

Poems, quotes, stories, and commitments regularly surface online. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, please continue to do so.

Melissa: “If we all were to just move in love, walk, breathe and speak in love, what a beautiful moment we could share.

Lobsang: “Despair is never a solution, it is the ultimate failure. In Tibetan we say, ‘if the rope breaks nine times, we must splice it together a tenth time.’ Even if ultimately we do fail, at least we will have no feelings of regret. And when we combine this insight with a clear appreciation of our potential to benefit others, we can begin to restore our hope and confidence. – The Dalai Lama”

Oliver: “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly go into the world and do good.”

Copyright © 2010 Charter for Compassion / A Project of the TED Prize / Made possible by The Fetzer Institute

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Iraqi Soldier Holding Iraqi Child

Iraqi Soldier Holding Iraqi Child

 

An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.
Kahlil Gibran

Many years ago I read a book by Alexander Solzhenitsyn called The Gulag Archipelago about his years of imprisonment under Stalin’s repressive regime. There was one line of Solzhenitsyn that struck a chord of truth in me at the time. ‘There’s a fine line between the good and evil in all of us.’ This stands as a great reminder for me any time I find myself falling into the trap of judging others. There’s no enemy out there. The only enemy is inside, hiding in our thoughts and feelings.

I recently met an elderly man who lived in Maastricht in The Netherlands during the Second World War. He learned a simple lesson from his challenging experiences at the time. When the going gets tough don’t expect the government to help. It’s the ordinary man who more often than not turns out to be the hero. He also noted war brought out the best and worst in people.

You may wonder how you can change the world. Remember that lesson from high school science, ‘Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It simply changes form.’ In order to change the world you need only change yourself. You’ve simply got to unlock the potential (energy) within yourself to put into motion the unique and personal dreams and visions you have to heal the world. In unlocking that potential you provide an opportunity for those dreams to explode into action. It’s much like the splitting of the atom, don’t you think? At rest, the atom does little. Split, it has enormous, almost unbelievable energy.

Since the numbing experiences of September 11, 2001 humanity has succumbed to a relentless government campaign, aided and abetted by a docile media, of a need for a War on Terror. Once again we’ve fallen for the illusion of Earthly existence—that the enemy is on the outside. I suggest we look closer to home and remember that which we resist persists. Fighting a war against terrorism only feeds energy to it.

In order to avenge the deaths of innocent Americans in the Twin Towers how many other innocent men, women and children have died? How many lives in Iraq and Afghanistan have been disrupted and severely damaged? And how many British and American soldiers, coming mostly from the underclass of ghettos, have died, young men whose home turf and plight is routinely ignored by the very governments prepared to spend obscene amounts of taxpayer’s cash on weapons and campaigns of destruction in far off lands. This campaign of a War on Terror is destined to fail and to only continue to create pain because it’s based on the premise that the enemy is out there.

The enemy is inside. He’s not out there.

One of the reasons I love living in New Zealand’s lightly populated Far North is because I can pass a stranger on the beach or in the street and exchange a few pleasant words with them. We don’t distrust each other. I believe this attitude of trust is closer to the way things are in the spirit world from whence we come where all beings are greeted with acceptance and openness without suspicion. Where the old adage holds, ‘Strangers are friends I haven’t yet met.’

I suggest we turn our attention away from the negative messages of the media and reflect meditatively on the reality that exists behind this illusory world.

Face it. The fears and the distrust of this world are our creation. Love is the real glue that holds this world together. Perhaps its greatest expression is kindness to a stranger and it’s simplest expression is a smile. Smile at the next stranger you meet.

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

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Marie Bernard

Marie Bernard

Tune in to Synchronicity, Talk Radio for Your Mind, Body and Soul, the #1 Spirituality and Wellness Radio Show, when Marie Bernard interviews me on September 11th (yes, that’s the day) at 11:00 AM PST.

 

This show would appear to be a great fit since In Search of Simplicity is all about a five year synchronistic ride that took me all over the world, into the heart of life and ultimately to New Mexico to a place I’d never been to begin a life of practical self-sufficiency with Lucia, my wife-to-be.

John Haines

John Haines

The adventures in New Mexico and beyond are the subject of the sequel to In Search of Simplicity which is being completed now.

 

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.