“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)
“I spoke about our relationships as flowers that need watering with love and communication to grow… we all need a friend to remind us…. Nourishing and healing communication is the food of our relationships…. We may not even know what we said or did that started to poison the relationship. But we have the antidote: mindful compassion and loving communication. Love, respect, and friendship all need food to survive. With mindfulness we can produce thoughts, speech, and actions that will feed our relationships and help them grow and thrive.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Art of Communicating”
I have checked out the video and I resonate with Drew Sumrall’s message on what it means to be a militant of truth, and I learnt that Paul was a militant of the universality of truth by maintaining a steadfast fidelity to the event of the cross, or the death and resurrection of Christ, through faith, hope and love, which are the three things that remain. I noted that love is the work of maintaining fidelity to the event in the here and now, and love is over and above all other things such as spirituality, faith, charity and hope, which, while having their place, are worthless without love, for “the greatest of these is love”.
According to Drew, the mystery of love is our incompleteness reaching out to love the other, for love is about the other, hence the work of the militant of truth is to love the other. He added that love is what faith is capable of, which means faith is only the beginning of the work of love. He also said that they hanged Jesus on the tree not because he preached hate or he preached love but because he lived love, and his death was the consequence of his love. Love is the narrow road and the small gate, which paradoxically leads to life.
I noted that true love doesn’t foster acceptance as it foments rejection, and just by loving another, who is the other, we will risk a great deal, and as Drew said, to have everything without love is nothing, for the greatest of these things that remain is love. This is a timeless message to me that is worth remembering and meditating upon.
According to Dr Brene Brown, empathy is feeling connection. It involves seeing from the other person’s perspective, staying out of judgment, recognising the emotions of the person, and communicating that.
Empathy is entering into that sacred space in which we say to the other person “I know what it is like down here. You are not alone.”
Empathy is a vulnerable choice in which in order to connect with the other person, I need to connect with something in myself that knows the other person’s feelings.
Sometimes it helps to not draw a silver lining in the clouds to try to make something better at that time. What makes something better is connection (of love and understanding), which may involve admitting that we do not know what to say or do too.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” (Romans 12:15-16)
Here’s sharing this article that introduces postmodern theology and the theory of deconstruction as well as the “death of God” theologians, who “saw the potential of (Derrida’s) deconstruction to further their project of announcing the end of theology (the death of God)”.
According to the article, the “death of God” theologians fastened onto Derrida’s idea that words refer only to other words in a textual setting and cannot be used to describe external realities such as God. That is true in the sense that words are inadequate to describe external realities such as God. At the most, words serve as symbols and metaphors that allude to the nature and mystery of God. This may explain why Jesus spoke in parables because figurative language is able to convey certain truths about the kingdom of God in a way that literal language cannot. For example, Jesus likened the temple of God to his own body when he said to the Jews “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”, and yet the Jews thought he was speaking literally about the physical temple building, not knowing he was speaking figuratively.
The article continued to say “They therefore claimed that God is not the Supreme Being who is literally “up there” in heaven somewhere, but instead we should think of God as being “out there” in a spiritual sense. God is “there” when we love another person, and this becomes the main Christian message.” This reminds me of Peter Rollins’ view that God is not found somewhere in the sky but rather God is found in the act of loving one another. In another place, he wrote: “For wherever a concern of beauty, an embrace of life and a love of liberation are exhibited the sacred is proclaimed.”
Interestingly, the death of God did take place according to the gospel, both literally and figuratively, as symbolised by the death of Jesus on the cross as the ultimate scapegoat for humankind. It could be that only by the death and resurrection of Jesus, who continued to love people beyond his death despite their cruelty towards him, would people see the love of God that is undying, and become free from their erroneous conception of a mean and vengeful god. Indeed love never fails, and the love of God has been shed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit, renewing our minds to know the love that passes knowledge, that is far greater than the limiting container of any religion – one that is expansive, universal and inclusive.
- John Caputo – What would Jesus deconstruct? (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- A Brief History of Christian Universalism (1) (bountifulg.wordpress.com)
- Well, They’re the Ones Calling it Good Friday… (patheos.com)
“What I’m about to share has been the most freeing realization in my adult life.
I am a mirror. I am a mirror to my kids. I reflect who they are back to them. And as their mirror, I look at them first. And what I see in them, I reflect back to them. And I see greatness… I see pure hearts… I see smiles and I see love.
Kids are smart, extremely smart. And their souls are sensitive, extremely sensitive. They KNOW if you’re proud or disappointed in them. They pay attention to your words, the tone they’re spoken in and even the pauses between them. They study the expressions on your face and the shape of your eyes. You can’t fool them. Every kid knows how their parent feels about them.
And here’s the thing… If your approval of your child has any connection to their “performance”…. you are an insecure parent. You have never known unconditional love. You have never had someone who believes in you.
Some of our religious parents are looking into a broken God for their reflection. Jehovah isn’t a loving father. Jehovah is an insecure tyrant just like the broken men who created him.
There are millions of beautiful kids out there who are looking in dirty and broken mirrors. And they think it’s them, when really it’s the mirror who’s broken. The kids are fine. They don’t need fixing.
To reflect greatness back to your kids, you must first see the greatness in you. It wasn’t until my adulthood that I started to see myself clearly. I thought of myself as a 5, but others said, “No Mike, you’re a 10 in every way.” Do you know how healing that is? Do you know how empowering that is?
Everyone has greatness in them. Whether you see it or not depends on the clearness of the mirrors around you. Be a clear mirror… especially to your kids. :-)”
– Mike Myers
Yes, we are a mirror in which others see a reflection of ourselves. As he put it, in order for us to reflect greatness to others, we need to see greatness in ourselves first. This relates to a similar message Jim Palmer shared in his recent blog – that by healing ourselves, we heal others too. Similarly, when we learn to see greatness in ourselves, we can reflect greatness back to others.
From the parent-child perspective, this is especially important, because children grow up mirroring the same things they see in their parents. For those of us who grow up in broken or dysfunctional families (as every family is dysfunctional in some ways), whether we have parents who are emotionally or physically absent, or who are even abusive towards us, we can trace back to the roots of their mistreatment – they would have experienced brokenness in themselves, and missed seeing the greatness in themselves, hence we have inadvertently become the unfortunate recipients of their mistreatments.
However, with the insights obtained through our experiences and our meditation as we breathe and look deeply into the nature of things, we begin to understand life with regard to our mirror reflection to one another. We can then take appropriate steps to create a new reality – it is never too late to realise and learn the truths, so as to change the course of things, determinedly focusing on healing ourselves and overcoming self-rejection, so that not only we rise up from the hurtful past to embrace life with greater peace and fortitude, we will also impact others – our loved ones, our future generations, and whoever else with whom we will interact at some points in time – with our inner peace and strength.
“If you don’t realize your perfection. you will have trouble accepting yourself. This will cause you to project that rejection on others. The same measure is realized in the amount of rejection you give yourself and the amount you push away those around you.
You are perfect. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Loving and accepting others will follow suit.”
Yes, it is so important to realise our own perfection and learn to love and accept ourselves for who we are. As the saying goes, “all love is self-love”, so only when we are able to love and accept outselves can we really love and accept others too. This will also resolve the feeling of rejection of self and others.
I think that is what Jesus taught about loving our neighbours as ourselves – the focus/emphasis is on loving ourselves first. This reminds me of a similar reflective quote by Henri Nouwen too – to remind ourselves we are Beloved and worthy.
“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”