“turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

In a conversation with Deutsche Welle (DW) on 22nd April 2020, the historian Yuval Noah Harari has the following for us to think about.

“I think the biggest danger is not the virus itself. Humanity has all the scientific knowledge and technological tools to overcome the virus. The really big problem is our own inner demons, our own hatred, greed and ignorance. I’m afraid that people are reacting to this crisis not with global solidarity, but with hatred, blaming other countries….”

In “Transformation & Healing,” his commentary on the “Satipatthana Sutta”, a Buddhist text that forms the heart of mindfulness practices, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that, in our relationships with others, we “find ways to nourish” compassion — “even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept.”

The persistent practice of this attitude, the sage tells us, leads to a realization that “The person who has made us suffer is undoubtedly suffering too” — and to a profound truth that echoes across time —

“our love is not contingent upon the other person apologizing or being lovable.”

In a message on 6th December 2000 for the “Healing & Reconciliation Service dedicated to HIV/Aids sufferers & “The Healing of our Land”, Nelson Mandela reminds us that “We are together in this.”

This remarkable person then asks each of us to live bound, “one to the other,” by compassion, and “turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

Peace 😊

“The task of education is not to teach subjects….”

Ken Robinson makes the deep observation (“Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative”) that “Too many teachers are hired for knowledge of their discipline rather than their interest in students.” This is a result of not comprehending a simple, fundamental truth. “The task of education is not to teach subjects: it is to teach students.”

J Krishnamurti points out (“Education and the Significance of Life”) that

“What we are in ourselves is much more important than the additional question of what to teach the child, and if we love our children we will see to it that they have the right kind of educators.”

In his 1926 book “On Education”, Bertrand Russell writes: “More important than the curriculum is….the spirit in which the teaching is given.” “The teacher,” Bertrand goes on, “should love his children….”

Peace 😊

The superior human

In “Kindness, Clarity, and Insight”, the Dalai Lama makes a simple, yet profound, statement: “That we humans can help each other is one of our unique human capacities.”

He urges us to help others; he encourages us to do this by cultivating “compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters….”

Robert Ingersoll, the agnostic lawyer who lived in the 1800s and who so often championed conscience, exhorts us (“The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll”) to use our hearts and brains and become “superior” human beings. What is this superior person about?

The wise Robert answers:

“The superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the defenseless. He stands erect by bending above the fallen. He rises by lifting others.”

Mary Ann Evans’ “Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life”, published first as a series in 1871-72 has one of the lead characters (Dorothea Brooke) gift us this line: “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?”

Peace 😊