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The Extraordinary Power of Compassion

By Jacob Devaney on Thursday September 21st, 2017

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How Do Acts of Compassion Create Peace in the World?

Our state of mind is the lens through which we experience the world around us. Inner peace leads to acts of peace and compassion, while inner discord and fear leads to violence. Both peace and violence are contagious, spreading through our social networks like a fire. Each of us was born at a very special time, and we have the ability to raise the vibration of love and peace in every moment, with every interaction.

The world needs this now more than ever. Peace is not passive, it is made visible through compassionate action. Are you ready to step up and become your highest expression of peace?

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. ― Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Acts of kindness, expressions of beauty, and feelings of empathy do much more to bring about peace than simply protesting war. That’s why this year, the International Peace Day campaign includes a powerful message about compassionate action, along with a global movement, to become the change we seek in the world. UPLIFT is pleased to be taking the lead in this with the launch of the new film Building Compassion, which will be streamed online for free on September 21st.

Highest expression of peaceAre you ready to step up and become your highest expression of peace? Image: Amanda Cass

Weaving a New Narrative

Weaving a new narrative is essential if we want to put an end to violence. Violence is the result of non-compassionate action, and has been scientifically proven to be a preventable brain disorder. Stories of connection, love, and kindness are literally roadmaps to peace. The most powerful stories are the ones that we actually embody and live in our daily lives. When we reach out to others in need and show them kindness, we give them a reason to believe in the goodness of humanity.

We can show each other that the stories of division, scarcity, and competition may not rule the world after all. We have the power to change it with our own actions as individuals, and collectively as a community. This is how we demonstrate compassion, break the old narrative, and create a new story that shows the power of unity, kindness, respect, and love. It takes courage and inner strength to defy the narratives that keep us divided. Do you have that kind of fortitude?

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. ― Pema Chödrön

The Road to Compassion

The road to compassion is not usually filled with roses, rainbows, and unicorns. Actually, compassion is often learned through having experienced deep pain, betrayal, hurt feelings, and broken trust. The Buddhists know that suffering is a natural part of the human journey. Thus they have perfected a practice that helps us turn unpleasant or painful experiences into compassion, to transform our lives in a positive way.

Breaking old narrativesIt takes courage and inner strength to defy the narratives that keep us divided.

The practice is called tonglen, and Pema Chödrön is a respected teacher of this compassion meditation. She has a powerful audio-recording called Good Medicine where she explains the practice in-depth. The basic concept is simple though… You sit quietly and breathe in all the fear, grief and pain happening in your life. You breathe it right into your heart and feel it with all your senses. When your lungs are full of air, then it is time to exhale and let it all go. The exhale is focused on deep and eternal peace. At the end of the exhale, you begin to inhale the grief again, and so the cycle continues. This allows your body to act like a pump–breathing in grief, and breathing out peace.

We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society. It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others….Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground. ― Pema Chödrön 

Cultivating Inner Strength, Together

The Compassion Games, in collaboration with UnifyInternational Day of Peace and many other organizations, have also created a fun way to get involved by gamifying compassionate action. Individuals and teams challenge and inspire each other to organize actions that build bridges between peace, prosperity, and the planet. Everyone is invited to create or join other service projects to create waves of compassionate action around the globe. Here are some featured ways to play. Results are then shared on the Compassion Report Map to highlight, measure, and celebrate the collective impact our actions have around the world. You can sign up here.

Compassion meditationCompassion meditation is the practice of breathing in grief and breathing out peace.

We are at a turning point in the development of our global community. It’s an unprecedented time when many of us are reflecting on how we can make the most positive impact. We are ready for more authentic connections, to promote peace and understanding, to spread prosperity and freedom, and protect and restore our planet. Let’s use this campaign to come together to build the relationships that address our complex and interwoven challenges such as ending terrorism, reversing climate change, preventing pandemics, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations. ― Compassion Games Website

Worldwide Events

Events worldwide are easy to find through the Unify interactive global map that is hosted on the International Day of Peace website. Click here to find local events, or to add your own, as we show the world what unified compassionate action looks and feels like. This is a peer-to-peer revolution, meaning that we will not be waiting for change to trickle from the top-down. We will be creating it within ourselves, in our families, communities and beyond. This is not just for a day, a week or a month, this is a way of life and now is the time to commit to actively being the peace we seek in the world.

It is as simple as changing the story, creating new images, breaking down stereotypes, and sharing inspiration. Dialogue can happen with an image, a hashtag, a blog, it comes with a willingness to listen, to see the humanity in each other and stop buying into the continued demonization that is spread through mainstream media. We can no longer wait for leaders to act towards peace, the power is in the hands of the people. ― Peer to Peer Revolution, Open-Sourcing Peace 

Be the peaceNow is the time to commit to actively being the peace we seek in the world.

Creating Peace Ripples

Creating peace ripples is another way that individuals are taking International Day of Peace to new heights. Be the Peace has been a major partner with UPLIFT and Unify over the years in supporting Globally Synchronized Meditations. Whether it has been hundreds meditating in the streets in Barcelona, families gathered by candlelight in Mumbai, school children holding hands under the Redwoods in California, or a Youth Peace Walk in Nairobi, Kenya, we unite at the same moment, together, one world; one humanity.

This year we will be hosting our 6th annual event on September 21st at 12pm in your timezone, causing a wave of peace to encircle the planet. There is also a Globally Synchronized Meditation on Sunday, September 24th at 12pm PDT (7pm GMT) that will close the World Peace Weekend. Together we drop into a unified state of coherence with an intention of raising the vibration of peace globally.

Add Your Peace!

The PeaceRipples Institute has a powerful program to close out the month which begins on the day of the global meditation, September 21st, and runs through to September 30th. Born out of years of success with Be The Peace, The PeaceRipples Institute inspires and supports people in living vibrant and flourishing lives that create ripples of peace in the world. It is no longer a one-day event for peace, it is now a way of life, and PeaceRipples is prepared to guide you on your journey. Click here to visit the website and sign up for ongoing programs. You are invited to share social media posts, stories and photos with the hashtag #mypeace so that everyone can create a global reflection for peace ambassadors worldwide!

Random act of kindnessBe sure to surprise someone with a random act of kindness whenever you can.

Share Your Positive Stories

The first step is to look within and consider ways that you can become more kind and compassionate to yourself. The Building Compassion film will be filled with tools, advice, and inspiration on how to begin this process. As we each develop this place of inner peace and compassion, we will naturally want to share it with the world around us. This is how we nurture our world by also taking care of ourselves. The free film will premiere on September 21st online.

Remember to share positive stories; stories of compassion, and be sure to surprise someone with a random act of kindness whenever you can. Instead of that divisive, political post this week, share something that connects, rebuilds friendships, something that reminds us of our shared struggles, shared dreams, and our shared humanity. We are the safety net for a world in chaos, we are the bringers of peace and the weavers of a new story. Together we gain inspiration and strength as we step up to the many challenges of our global community.

Watch the premiere of the new UPLIFT film, Building Compassion, on the International Day of Peace, September 21st. The film shares cutting-edge research into the neurology and cultural practices of compassion and features interviews with a range of experts, including Dr. James Doty, Dr. Saamdu Chetri, Dr. David Vago, Scarlett Lewis and many more. Building Compassion explores how compassion is the key to understanding what it is to be truly human, and to creating a loving world.

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Jacob Devaney

Founder and director of Culture Collective, creative activist, musician, and producer.

 

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