Thursday, February 2, 2017

WIHW 2017, Mission Two: Compassionate Listening

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?  The small task of connecting my eyes to the sky and to the earth was very powerful because it allowed me to focus on what was there before me and will be there after me.  I felt a link to my father especially because a tree that once was planted, died for a while, but as by magic, the administration at my school planted not one, but many trees in the area where once my father's tree stood alone.  It is also very connecting that my sisters will be back in OKC in a couple of weeks to have a sisters' time together.  I think I am going to try to have a plaque in memory of my father planted there and another in the trees that were planted by me in memory of my mother on the other side of campus.  
“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 to accomplish, 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.
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.

Each day during World Interfaith Harmony Week the Compassion Torch will be passed to a new Champion of Compassion. On Day 2 of the Giving Games, we are deeply thankful to pass the Compassion Torch from Sande Hart and the Charter for Compassion: Women and Girls Sector to the one and only Interfaith Amigos! The Interfaith Amigos, of course, are the inspiration behind Mission #2. They began working together after 9/11, and have been healing the divide between faiths ever since. Don't miss out on their remarkable story!
Partners in Compassion!
Thank you to our truly remarkable partner in compassion for making this coopetition possible. Learn more about the incredible work, history, and vision of the Fetzer Institute here!