Wednesday, February 3, 2016

For Reflection:
Before moving on to Mission #3, take a moment to reflect on yesterday's mission. How did it feel to listen compassionately to another person - respecting their worth as a human being regardless of their differences in tradition, perspective or culture? Were you able to connect with them in a heartfelt way? How might it affect your life if you took this approach toward connecting and listening to others everyday? If you haven't done so, post your reflections and experiences on theCompassion Report Map to amplify your compassionate action!

Due to my work with YLOKC, I have been able to become friends with people from the Jewish and Muslim traditions.  They have NAMES: Sam, Buthaina, Joan, Amira, Sirenee.  They are wonderful, intelligent, caring, compassionate human beings.  We are people with different passions on what directions are the foundations of our values, but the inspiration to be connected to goodness, happiness, and peace are the same no matter what religion we profess.  I am a non-practicing catholic.  Love the Pope and his humanist view of his path in this world.

I went to a forum on Confronting Islamophobia yesterday.  At the end of the forum, I thank the host via text.  I want to keep it in my heart, therefore a teen at the forum helped learned how to take a screen shot of my own text!

Our third mission, Agents, is to harmonize our voices with other traditions and cultures through the universal expression of music.
Every culture and society values music as a fundamental expression of human life. Its enchanting qualities transcend language, as it can be understood on levels that dive deep below the rational, thinking mind, straight to the heart.

Today, find a hymn, chant, or song from a tradition different than your own and listen to it deeply. Even if you cannot understand the words, allow the music to move your spirit. Feel the nuances and movement of the music. Imagine the visuals these sounds invoke, and allow yourself to feel theexperience in your body. Then, when you are ready to, add your own voice to the piece of music in your own way. You might hum quietly to the music, or add your own harmonies.

Agent, your voice is an incredibly powerful tool. From it arises your deep, personal truth and through music, you can share it with the world.

Need a place to start? We recommend listening to “The Gift of Love” by Sami Yusef, a song composed for World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2015!

Agents, remember... As you fulfill your mission, share your experiences on theCompassion Report Map to amplify its power! Check out all of the inspiring reports posted on the map so far!

Inspiration for Mission #3:

Inspiration for Mission #3 comes from Malala Yousafzai, a young woman whose voice and truth could not be silenced. Malala, a Pakistani activist for female education, is the youngest laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize. The local Taliban in her region attempted to assassinate her on October 9th, 2012, due to her work to see that all children receive an education.Watch an incredible interview with Malala and Oprah Winfrey here.

Additional Resources:

For Reflection:
Before moving on to Mission #2, reflect on yesterday's mission. What was it like to sit with the reality that our personal ancestral lineages reach to so many people who have lived before us? Did you feel more connected to yourself, to life, and to others? How might you continue to carry this awareness in your everyday life, and how might it impact your interactions with others?

When I think who I am, what I value, and where I am heading (I am going to be a grandmother for the first time), and by reading this mission, I realized how the Shinnoyen's Foundation Paradigm of Service is the woman perspective of any religion, You are the other Me.  I am the Other You!  We are made of the molecules and backgrounds of the people who created us and the ones who created them.  Even if after death, there is nothing like a heaven or a hell, we continue in the continuum of life in our grandchildren, hence the importance of birth and the response not to fear death.  Just make the memories that will bring a smile in people's hearts and you are inmortal.  I dearly love the 3 Interfaith Amigos video.  I will share with my students and use their approach of sharing how the religions are connected during Peace Week 2016 at my school!
“Why is interfaith dialogue so difficult? [It is] the confusion between the particular and the universal. Every authentic spiritual path is an avenue to a shared universal. But that universal is far greater than any particular path.”
-Rabbi Ted Falcon, The Interfaith Amigos

Our second mission, Agents, is to listen compassionately to someone from a different tradition, perspective, or culture than our own.
We introduce the concept of Compassionate Listening with The Interfaith Amigos!
Few things can stir up our emotions like listening to someone say something that goes against what we believe to be true. Agents, this is a sign! There is profound treasure buried where these feelings exist… If we can rise to the challenge!
It is easy to have compassion for someone who thinks and lives like we do. It is much more difficult to see past the differences that seem to divide us from the “other”, to look past judgement, and find the will to care and try to understand regardless of these different views. It can be difficult toaccomplish, but where these feelings lay, untold growth awaits!

Today, seek out and listen to someone that holds a different perspective than you do. It could be a friend, a family member, or even an acquaintance you’d like to learn more about. Listen with an open mind and heart, without judgement, with a genuine interest to understand their perspective or tradition.

There is a rare opportunity today to learn directly from the Interfaith Amigos about compassionate listening, and listening past differences! Register free for a live, interactive call in Charter for Compassion Speaker’s Series!
When: Today - Tue., Feb. 2, 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT
Register Here for Free!
Agents, remember... As you fulfill your mission, share your experiences on theCompassion Report Map to amplify its power! Your report inspires others, amplifying the power of your compassion and generosity!

Going Deeper:

If you want more guidance on how to be a more compassionate communicator, The Interfaith Amigos have put together 5 interfaith dialogue stages:
  1. Reaching beyond distrust, suspicion and fear by sharing our stories together.
  2. Gaining an appreciative understanding of the core teachings of another's traditions.
  3. Understanding how some of the verses and practices in our traditions are consistent with core teachings and other verses and practices are inconsistent with those core teachings.
  4. Being willing to enter into more difficult conversations, such as Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
  5. Celebrating and experiencing spiritual practices from other traditions.

Inspiration for Mission #2:

The Interfaith Amigos started working together after 9/11. Since then, they have brought their unique blend of spiritual wisdom and humor to audiences in the US, Canada, Israel-Palestine and Japan. Their first book, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith (Skylight Paths, 2009), brought the Interfaith Amigos international attention with coverage from the New York Times, CBS News, the BBC and various NPR programs. Karen Armstrong calls their "exuberant and courageous" second book, Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith (Skylight Paths, 2011), "an inspiration and example for all of us in these sadly polarized times."

Additional Resources:

Agents of Compassion,

We have critical information available for you from Agent HQ...

Every step we take on our precious Mother Earth is simply profound. It may appear that we journey alone but this is in fact not true.

If each of us only peer back through time a mere 10 generations ago, every human being owes their lives to an astounding 2,046 people who came before us and make our lives possible. These 2,046 people are our relatives, those who passed on the legacy of life that lives within us.

Somehow, it gets even more incredible. If we each look back just 1,000 years, or through 30 generations of our ancestors, the number increases dramatically… from 2,046 relatives to one billion ancestors!

In other words, we are the newest growth on a very ancient, very large tree!

If you continue going back through time, you realize that our eyes have played a trick on us: although we appear separate - located in different regions of the world with different skin tones, cultures, spiritual paths and religions - we are actually all related. In fact, we are inter-related. We are each invaluable members of the Human Family, and since we share one Earth and one common ancestry, we too share one common destiny.

Agents of Compassion, let us use this time together to bring to life the vision of harmony for all humanity. Let's strengthen our hearts and the ancient bonds that bring us together, so we can actively lean in to the world we know is possible.
“In my culture it’s a fact, and an understanding of life, that everything is connected, and we were put on this earth to be stewards and caretakers of the environment.” -Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Tla’Amin First Nation

For the first day of World Interfaith Harmony Week, our first mission, Agents, is to honor our ancestors.
Indigenous peoples maintain ancient traditions that recognize the essential importance of honoring one’s ancestors, and sending them thankfulness for our very lives. By honoring our ancestors, we connect more fully to ourselves, to the legacy of life within us, and to those members of the Human Family all around us sharing the gifts of Mother Earth.

Begin today’s mission by simply placing your feet upon the Earth… Feel the Earth come up to knowingly meet you, to hold, support, and ground you. Imagine roots extending from your feet deep into Mother Earth like a tree.

Now, begin to feel the pulse of your countless ancestors who have each also walked upon the very same good Earth surging through your body. Imagine your ancestors are also holding you, always there, singing your name.

Next, look up to Father Sky, open your palms, eyes and heart to connect and let it soak in. Like leaves absorbing the rejuvenating trickle of sunlight from our Sun, feel the expansiveness of the cosmos pouring into your entire body, illuminating every part of your spirit.

Once in this connected state of being, feel the wells of gratitude for all those who have come before you. And then, wish for the peace of all your fellow human relatives alive today who share a great journey with you.

By honoring our ancestors, we celebrate the unseen links that bond us to all people on our beautiful Mother Earth, offering a prayer of gratitude to those spirits who have come before us so that we can live today.
Agents, remember... As you fulfill your mission, share your experiences on theCompassion Report Map to amplify its power! Your report inspires others, amplifying the power of your compassion and generosity!

Going Deeper:

You can take this honorable experience of connection to Mother Earth and the Sky above into an action to share with another today. Is there an elder in your life - living or passed - that you want to acknowledge and give thanks to? You can take this appreciation and amplify your thoughts by writing a letter to them. Share this completed letter with a friend, or gift it to the elder if possible. Share your experience on theCompassion Map to inspire others with your experience!

Inspiration for Mission #1:

This mission is inspired by the legacy of Chief Dan George (July 24, 1899 – September 23, 1981), an international leader of interfaith and Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. And we are honored to feature youth Indigenous leader Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Tla’Amin First Nation. In four short years, she has traveled the Earth sharing the voice of her ancestors through her music and powerful message. Watch a video of her singing here.