“In our work to end modern slavery, we must find the time to take care of ourselves, and to take care of the present moment. By doing so, we can find some relative peace in our body and mind to continue our work. We need to recognise and embrace our own suffering, our anger, fear, and despair so that the energy of compassion can be maintained in our hearts. When we have more clarity in our mind, we will have compassion not only for the victims, but for the traffickers themselves. When we see that the traffickers have suffered, we can help them wake up and stop what they are doing. Our compassion can help transform them into friends and allies of our cause.
“In order to sustain our work of compassion, we all need a spiritual community to support us and protect us – a real community, where there is true brotherhood and sisterhood, compassion and understanding. We should not do this work as cavaliers seuls, as lone warriors. The roots of modern slavery run deep, and the causes and conditions, the networks and structures supporting it are complex. That is why we need to build a community that can continue this work to protect human life not just until 2020, but long into the future.
“The world in which we live is globalized, and so too is this new form of slavery, that is connected to the economic, political and social systems. Therefore our ethics and morality also need to be globalized. A new global order calls for a new global ethic. We have to sit down together, as people of many traditions, as we are doing now, to find the causes of this suffering. If we look deeply together, with clarity, calm and peace, we will understand the causes of modern slavery, and we can find a way out.”
(From Thich Nhat Hanh’s Speech at the Vatican, December 2, 2014 – SUMMIT OF WORLD FAITH LEADERS TO END MODERN SLAVERY & HUMAN TRAFFICKING)
When we step out of the matrix of the societal system, we naturally step out of fear, oppression and the illusion of separation. Anything that causes people to feel superior over others, whether it is nationalism, competition, racism, religion or education based on so-called meritocracy and achievements, etc, is an illusion and delusion.
It is misleading somewhat to evaluate people based solely on presentation skills, public speaking skills, and so on in formal education because if someone has the passion, vision and compassion to promote ideas that liberate and empower others, they will naturally find ways and means to get their message across, regardless of how well they score in academics or how well they perform the eyes of the establishments. In addition, degrees, diplomas and doctorates do not measure a person’s character as these paper qualifications tend to denote mainly how indoctrinated and conformist they are to be accepted by the system. Rather, it is kindness that matters, as it has a lasting impact in our hearts at the end of the day.
A system or country or institution that emphasises achievements and material “success” only tends to breed the fear of “failure” and fear of being rejected or ridiculed, and as a result, it tends to limit or inhibits personal freedom, creativity, and potential to develop one’s gifts.