Thursday, May 01, 2008

Seeds of Compassion

A number of us connected to Queen Anne Christian Church attended some part of the Seeds of Compassion event in April which featured, among other world religious leaders, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and Desmund Tutu.

The event was inspiring and invigorating. Here are three reflections—

blessings + peace, Laurie

Maria Drury—
Attending several session of Seeds of Compassion touched me deeply in ways I am still discovering. Our community has been deeply blessed to host such a gathering, as its effects will continue to ripple through each person and our very geography for a long time to come. As I sat in the sessions, I witnessed national and international “experts” in dialogue with wise people — in the form of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and youth who spoke wisely as they offered reflections and asked questions that many adults struggle to answer for ourselves.

I heard information and wisdom that I perhaps know already on some level, but it had renewed impact as I heard these ideas spoken with compassion in a space I had set apart from daily routine. I experienced community in the friends and family I sat with, and in the sense of a larger community brought closer together by gathering in witness to the importance of practicing compassion in its many facets — towards self, towards other, towards community, towards the world in which we live.

Just today Peter and I read a story in the sports section of the Seattle Times, in which two college baseball players carried an opponent around the bases after she injured her leg while responding to the only home run she would hit in her softball career. They ensured that team’s victory, but touched many more lives by displaying ultimate sportsmanship in such compassion. Whether or not those young women knew about the gathering in Seattle, their choice is linked in my own mind with what I witnessed at Seeds of Compassion.

I feel truly blessed by this incredible gathering.

Sarah Swanson—
I am still feeling inspired by the Seeds of Compassion and am hoping to incorporate some of what I heard to my everyday life. Laurie, after you pointed out the pennies for peace [this program supports the work of Central Asia Institute to bring school supplies to children in Afghanistan], I brought Julian, Tyler and Mia up to put some pennies in.

I was amazed how they responded with basically how come these children don’t have what they have and how can they help. I really underestimated how they would understand this concept because of their age, but what I am feeling now is that the time is now for my children to learn compassion and being socially responsible. Hearing from these great public figures that they learned compassion from their mothers was empowering—and I am ready to commit to do more.

Amy Graff—
I was struck by the first question to the panelists: When do you remember the first time you experienced compassion? Many of the answers were incredible; especially the woman who remembered that she was three when she first knew she made a difference in her family—she could make them laugh.

Another question they answered was when you have had a tragedy in your life, how did you deal with it and go on? One panelist suggested we draw on the infinite strength we have in ourselves.
The Dalai Lama explained that if there is sadness in our lives—and he took his fingers to twist a dial 180 degrees—then we need to create more happiness.

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