I follow HH Dalai Lama on Facebook because he always throws out great attitude adjusters to start my day. This morning's pearl:
The more adept we become at cultivating an altruistic attitude, the happier we will feel and the more comfortable will be the atmosphere around us. But if our emotions fluctuate wildly and we easily give in to hatred and jealousy, even our friends will avoid us. So even for people with no spiritual beliefs, it is important to have a peaceful mind.
"Weeds are simply plants created by God that are growing in the wrong place"
I cannot take credit for this quotation and don't know the name of the fella who said it. However, it was passed along to me from a friend. Nevertheless, this is what I'm pondering today.
Last night, I did my regular volunteering at our local food and clothing pantry. I'm always surprised at the people who end up sticking with me throughout the next few weeks. It always changes. Sometimes, it is the first-timers that come in being ashamed and embarrased to ask for help. Sometimes it is the single mom or dad working hard to provide for their children but still having a hard time making ends meet. Last night it was two homeless gentlemen who came in. Each story is different, but both of said the same thing in different ways. The gist was "I am lost and messed up. I'm alone because I don't want to be a burden on my family." I sensed real sadness in these gentlemen.
So I'm thinking about these men and along comes the quote for the day. Thinking back to my previous post on names and how they change how I think about the suffering in the world. I had this thought. Someone cared enough about weeds to give them a scientific name. I wonder if I start thinking about run of the mill weeds by their name if it wouldn't truly transform how I think about them. I know for sure that it changes the way I think about the folks I meet on my journey that need a little consideration and caring. With that said, I'm thinking about all the possiblities that will help those people into the right place.
“The deep root of failure in our lives is to think, 'Oh how useless and powerless I am.' It is essential to think strongly and forcefully, 'I can do it,' without boasting or fretting.” - Dalai Lama
Often we shrink back from a social ill, an unjustice, and abject suffering all because we tell ourselves a bunch of falsehoods:
That doesn't happen in my community.
I can't change the world.
If I do something I might endanger myself or my family.
The problem is too complex and the simple thing I do won't solve anything.
The list goes on...
The problem is that most times, these things are in your neighborhood, endangering you and your family already and you do change the world anytime you make even the smallest action to alleviate the suffering of a single person.
The eye opener this week is about child sexual trafficking. So before you go down the road of saying, "I can spot a pedophile and it doesn't happen in my neighborhood...let me just offer you some fact-based alternatives:
The average age of child sexual exploitation appears to be 14, but girls as young as 10 and 11 are regularly exploited.
Ignorance is not an excuse. A recent study found that "Most men who commercially sexually exploit adolescent females are not necessarily looking for a female they know to be under 18, but rather are looking to pay for sex with “young” females. Some of these men actively avoid any discussion of the actual age of the “young” female they are requesting, while other men ask for a young adult (e.g., a 19-year-old) apparently without realizing that in doing so they put themselves at extremely high risk for soliciting sex from a female who is actually under 18."
Sometimes I come across quotations that make me wonder. When I run this through my life, my experiences, and my guiding principles, what TRUTH distills out? How does that Truth challenge what I know to be true?
"A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the
fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the
one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside,
but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that
the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will
not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on
life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a
beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs
restructuring. " ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.