Finding Compassion Amidst Shame

By Caroline Netschert

Apparently the topic of shame is “up for me” this week. It seems to work out that way—the topics we’re investigating in this class become more glaringly obvious in my life. The past few weeks it’s been self-righteousness, but the past few days it’s shifted to shame, as we explore this idea/practice of “getting off the hook.”

Today I drove to the women’s jail. There’s a woman I wanted to meet with before her court date this Thursday. I promised her I’d come see her and bring her some specific things to read, since she’s been really struggling and she’s finally starting to open up about trauma she’s experienced. We’d had a really amazing conversation two weeks ago that I’ve been replaying in my mind a lot. So I drove 40 minutes, parked in the garage and went to grab my ID out of my purse, but found out I’d left it hanging in my bedroom at home. I can’t get into the jail without my ID.

So there I am sitting in the garage, defeated, overly caffeinated, with a wave of shame and self-pity swelling from the dark pit in my stomach. I shed a sprinkling of tears and my old narrative of “how could I have been so careless? (stupid?)” chimes in. This time, however, I remember I have a choice.

I often dive straight down and pull that wave of self-pity and self-hatred over myself, wrapping it around me like a cloak of jaggedly, heavy, familiar pain…adding fuel to that fire that is so oddly comforting because it’s been the go-to “tool” for so long. But this time I paused. I start investigating and naming what I’m feeling: shame, disappointment, self-pity, fear that I’d let other people down, perfectionism…my expectation that I should never make mistakes. I think to myself, “How can I find compassion for myself in the midst of shame?” How can I “let myself off the hook?” so-to-speak?

During my 40 minutes drive home it dawned on me: somewhere in that pit of my stomach I have the belief that if I don’t self-flagellate and shame myself when I do something I think is “wrong” or “bad,” then I’m worried that I (and people around me) will think I’m not remorseful…that I’m “letting myself off the hook.” That I’ll see myself (or others will see me) as a callous person who doesn’t think about anyone else. And you know what? They might. Or they might not. And if they do, would that make it true? And what if it is true sometimes? Does that mean I’m “bad?” Underneath it all, I know I’m not. And holy shit, I’m trying and it is so effing messy and I really hate messes. I can’t control a mess and I really hate feeling like I’m not in control, which of course, I’m not. It’s the grand delusion that continue to chase, but will never obtain.

So, this time I investigated and I recognized what was going on. I breathed and then I surrendered to the simple fact that I tried to do the “right thing, but I “failed” (made a mistake), and it’s not the end of the fucking world. I got home, laughed at my purse hanging in my room, made myself lunch and put my shoes on to go to work.

Thinking about this experience in terms of how I relate to the shame I have around my power, privileges and differences, what happened today seems pretty tame in comparison. The tailspin I started to have in the parking lot, which I unpacked my way through, was essentially around forgetting my purse—an annoying, but fairly tame “offense.” So, my shame around my privilege and social role is bound to be way messier when it pops up. The question is, can I find compassion for myself when it does surface? Reverend angel Kyoto williams, Sensei questions in the reading from this week will definitely stay with me for those moments:

“What place are you not feeling?
What part of you are you rejecting?
What aspect are you not loving?
What truth are you not willing to accept?”*
____________________________________________________________________________________________
*Williams, Angel Kyodo, Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah. 2016. Radical Dharma: talking race, love, and liberation. p. 96

Reflecting feelings

I like the kind of one-to-one conversation in last class. Similarly, in our psychotherapy class, I find it feels totally different when I am talking in the group than with one person as a pair. I feel much easier to speak about personal feeling or details when taking with a single person, but when talking with the group, I tend to be more intellectual rather than speak from heart. I don’t know if it is just my shyness or it is a habit of covering when facing the public. I am more confident when speaking to only one person, but with the whole group, I still feel reluctant when speaking.

I think those questions can be use at any situations I meet with, reflecting and asking myself “What do I really feel?” and “What do I fear and resist?” Sometime the answer is pretty obvious, but I used to ignore it and choose to immerse myself in a certain circumstance and don’t want to be awake. But reminding oneself these questions can be a good way to keep the mind sober and be present. I start to intentionally reflect on my own feelings more since studying chaplaincy. I find it is quite difficult for me to identify the feeling and name it. When being asked “what do you feel?” I usually only can say “good”, or “fine”, unless I am really in a bad mood or have a strong emotion. But that kind of situations are quite rare, I think mostly I just feel nothing. I am not used to identify what I am feeling. It is like an undifferentiated chaos or potentiality, but when trying to name it, it comes to be a kind of reality that one may stick to it. It is a mental process of how the ego or “self” functions. I am not sure if it is from the Buddhist point of view or from the idea of Taoism. In this way, the Chinese are much reserved and repressed in the eyes of Western people. Apparently, This understanding have formed my personality to a great extent.

Recently I have reflected a lot on affection and relationship. These questions seemed to be far from my life when I lived in the sangha or I was too busy with the routine monastic business to consider about them. But now, I realize that many of the friends I currently meet with all have such problems in their life. It seems to be quite universal. And when they ask me my opinion and advice, I feel awkward that I indeed know few about that. I realize that I need to seek from my own experience for understanding and wisdom, which means I need to recall my memories I buried 10 or even 20 years before. I try to retrieve the softest and most tender part in my heart. I think this is the only way I can feel and understand other’s suffering on those troubles.

I find that in the Radical Dharma the author discussed a lot about “love”. She said that “Transformative, radical, interconnected, and embodied. Ways that are motivated by a deep, unwavering love of all of life, and committed to seeing that love expressed as justice.”[1] I think I may just take a step forward toward the way of cultivating real bodhicitta and compassion. And since I learn more about Vajrayana, I have contemplated more about the publication and repression of human instinct.

[1] Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2016. 197.

“Getting off the Hook”

MDIV 515: Power, Privilege, and Difference.

“Getting off the Hook”

By Pisit Maneewong

The reading of this week was related to the topic of “Getting off the Hook” which was the part of the book title “Privilege, Power, Difference,” and it was written by Allan G. Johnson. According to my reading on the Chapter 8: Getting Off the hook: Denial and Resistance.  I like what Allan G. Johnson wrote that “The fact is that we’re all on the hook because there’s no way to avoid being part of the problem. People in subordinate groups are on the hook every day. Dominant groups are, too, but they’re more likely not to know it because they have so many ways to act as though they aren’t, and privilege usually allows them to get away with it. But the more aware we are of all the ways there are to fool ourselves, the easier it is to wake up and make ourselves part of solutions.” [1] Sometimes we do not know that there is no such wall or barrier in front of us. One of the reason is fear of losing our privilege and realm which we used to be the owner and we do not want to share with others. In addition, we are full of selfish without caring other’s privilege or feeling. It seems that we have trouble with this wall day by day, no chance to walk over this barrier.

From the class last week, our class practiced the exercise of power, privilege, and difference regarding the ideas of racism, class, and gender which somehow related to the idea of ‘White Supremacy’.  During the time, I and my male classmate laid down on the floor face up and head closed to each other’s in the different directions and the women sat on the chair above us in four directions. At that moment, I felt overwhelmed in three ways of my thought, by the feeling, time pressure, and overwhelmed by how to do things ‘right’ thing at that moment. At the beginning, my feeling was normal and when the time passed by from 10-20 minutes I felt like how to do the ‘right’ thing at that moment. So, I decided to not do anything just lay down and practice my Pali chanting which I remembered at that moment. I try to use my terrorist mind to not follow the sound when I heard during I was laying down with my male classmate. I knew that I was not a good person at that moment. I did not help or use my voice to speak out when the female asked and even my male friends talked. I still continued to keep quiet and not use any voice until the last minutes of this exercise. I think my action like what Allan G. Johnson writes in his book, “But the truth is that my silence, my inaction, and especially my passive acceptance of everyday privilege that goes along with group membership are all it takes to make me just as much a part of the problem as any member of the Klan.”[2]

Anyway, from this situation, as a man I felt sad and empathy as well about this situation regarding gender. Most of the time women are hurt by men who have more power and privilege without love or compassion or without thought that is gender like their mother. I asked myself how I can help the people who live in trouble, both male and female with trouble and with this question it enriches awareness on me to the situation of difference. So, I need more choice and more chance to learn how to live together happily and harmoniously in the long term of life without any conflict of the power, privilege, and difference especially the different gender between male and female.

I like the idea that the Buddha give an advice to the monks (Bhikkhus, Pali) how to treat the women in the proper way which appeared in the Bharadvaja Sutta. In this sutta, the Buddha once advised to the young monks that, ‘Come now, monks: with regard to women who are old enough to be your mother, establish the attitude you would have toward your mother. With regard to women who are old enough to be your sister, establish the attitude you’d have toward a sister. With regard to women who are young enough to be your daughter, establish the attitude you’d have toward a daughter.’[3] This is one reason that I should bring it and share it here.

[1] Allan G Johnson, Privilege, power, and difference. (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006), p.108.

[2] Allan G Johnson, Privilege, power, and difference. Ibid., p.118.

[3] Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “Bharadvaja Sutta: About Bharadvaja,” accessed May 19, 2017, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.127.than.html.

Get Out There!

Whenever I go on a trip, whether it be a short distance or long distance, I always take at least a little bit of time and do some people observing.  Most times I’ll learn something new each time.  I still remember one of the teachings that the Venerable Master Hsing Yun taught about spreading Buddhism locally was to just go out there.  He said that in encouragement to the monastic disciples and lay teachers to break out from the temple/monastery setting and serve people that way.  I take that teaching to heart myself and try to break from the comfortable environment and bring the Dharma to the people, or in this case bring spiritual care to the people.

In Half the Sky, the authors Kristof and WuDunn made some recommendations to some young people who asked about how they help address issues like poverty or inequality, and right off the bat the first recommendation was to “get out and see the world.”[i]  I felt like that and what Venerable Master Hsing Yun taught was like two hands clapping together.  Even though I felt a little joyous that east and west have met again in theory, I also felt bummed, because, in order to get out there and discover stuff, I would need resources, especially monetary resources.  Kristof and WuDunn talked about one of the great failings of the American education system is not including studying abroad.  I myself never had any chance to study abroad because my major wouldn’t be able to accept the transfer credits and I just simply did not have enough money.  I already carry a lot of weight for not making time to exercise and I have to carry more weight on my back because I have a lot of student loans to repay when I graduate.  This may be tied back to the capitalism themes in the previous weeks’ discussions but if the economic system allowed for some flexibility or something then maybe I could pursue something like studying abroad or teaching English abroad.  Then again, especially with the new administration, this will continue to be a challenge.

When I read the chapter in Power, Privilege and Difference about the lingo that differentiates men and women, I had this rumbling feeling in my stomach.  I think it is because after reading the chapter I want to find a level that I can connect with women but at the same time, I find it real difficult.  Maybe it is because like what I mentioned previously that I have not been exposed enough to environments where the men are the dominant authority?  Or could it be because I was born and raised and still currently living under female authority that I am almost clueless about what male authority is like?  I’m not sure.  In the book the author states, “[i]n short, men are the cultural standard for humanity; women are just women.”[ii]  I really wouldn’t know how to react.  I know that men are the norm for cultural standards, but to have that out in black and white for me was a little bit of a shock, though I have to agree with it fully because it is the truth.  It is the same in the Buddhist community as well, but luckily that is gradually improving.  Another thought that came up for me in that statement was the professional dress code standard, men are usually in a shirt and tie with slacks and women are also given a the standard with a top and dress which I think has since later evolved into the blouse and slacks in order to be at the same level as men.  I’m not an expert in fashion but I am curious if this will evolve further?

 

[i] Kristof, Nicholas D., and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the sky: turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. Page 88. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.

[ii] Johnson, Allan G. Privilege, power, and difference. Page 104. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub., 2001.

It is women’s issue

MDIV 515: Power Privilege and Difference

Seong Hui Bark(Moogoo)

Reflection Paper

Reflect on your reaction to text or person

We watched Tedtalk about gender. After I finished watching first one titled: ‘Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue’, I really wanted to ask the male classmates like this: ‘How do you feeling about the talk? Whether they agree or not? Do they willing try to change men’s behaviors or not?’ Honestly, I was shocked by the talk since I never thought that men can help to reduce sex abuse or any kind of violence against women by changing their thinking. Can it be possible? I am really doubtful about it since I was only educated by thinking about what women can do to reduce public or domestic sex abuse or violence.

For example, when I was in the MA program at the University of Dongguk, there were a lot of special lectures or events for BA, MA and PHD students every semester. Sometimes the lectures would be held only for BA or MA students. One day, I saw a banner titled: ‘Sex Education for BA Female Student’. I did not want to attend the lecture since I was 30 years old or something at that time. However, I had a meeting with my lay friend who was an assistant to the instructor who gave the above lecture after the event. I went to the convention hall 20 minutes before the end of the lecture. Outside of the hall, there were no chairs so I decided to enter the room that the instructor was giving her speech. When I just entered the room, the instructor asked to audience: ‘Do you know why women was abused by men?” nobody answered and she said that ‘Because women did not say ‘Do not do that, I do not want it’ and continuously she explained the reason why women did not say it is because they did not have a chance to practice it before this happens for real. She suggested to the audience to repeat what she said loudly at that time such as ‘Do not touch my hip’, ‘Do not touch my waist’, ‘Do not touch my breast’, ‘Do not do that’, and ‘I do not want it’. In the confusion of the moment, I loudly spoke aloud the above statements following the instructor’s statements. In conclusion, she strongly convinced us that ‘Women must change their behaviors in order to prevent sex abuse or violence caused by men.’ I had a really good impression about her lecture I regretted that I did not attend the whole lecture. Because of this lecture, I thought that it is true that if women change and express their feelings of violence, men’s behaviors would be change. However, Violence Against Women—it’s a men’s issue: Jackson Katz makes me think whether it can be men’s issue or not.

Response to your inner/outer reactions

I still wonder how do my male classmates think about the Jackson’s talk whether they agree or not? I should have asked those questions to them in the class because I barely agree that violence against women is a men’s issue. It has to be women’s issue and I have two stories to support this but I think I should use only one since I have written too long these days.

I forgot about the lecture since I did not think it would happen to me in my life. One day, I rode the subway during the day in Seoul and I do not remember where I was heading to at that time. There were not a lot of passengers in my cabin and most of them sat on the seat. I also sat at the edge of the seat and I saw one passenger who sat diagonally from me coming towards me, stood in front of me and started talking about the Bible. I was a little uncomfortable that he was in front of me and talked about religion. After some time, he asked questions why I became a Buddhist nun at a young age and started yelling little at me about my decision to become a nun. At that time, I looked around and found that most passengers around me were men. The man suddenly stepped forward to me and little leaned his head to me. I could feet him threatening me so I said: ‘I do not want to talk about it now’ with a soft voice unlike how I practiced when I was at the sex education lecture. As soon as I finished with what I said, the man who was sitting next to me stood up and blocked the man in front of me using his right arm and the man who was sitting across from me came forward and bump the man’s shoulder and told him that I had said that I did not want to talk about it with him. The man who was threatening me and I were both surprised at that time. I could not clearly understand what was happening at that moment. I guess because of the two men’s angry faces, the threatening man got off at the next station right away. I thanked the two men and show my appreciation. After that, I talked to the man sitting next to me until I arrived at my destination. He first started talking about when he saw the protestant man coming to me, he was really uncomfortable too but he could not say anything because he did not know about my feelings whether I am ok or not. When the protestant man leans in on me, he started hesitating whether to intervene or not. Actually, he wanted to but was not sure at the time until he could hear my voice expressing that I did not want to talk about it. That statement gave him encouragement to do what he needed to do and he knew I was not comfortable with that situation. It seemed like the sex education lecturer was really correct; when I spoke out my feelings, the violence stopped right away.

Integrating the reading for the week

“Be the person at the bus stop that steps in when they see a woman being harassed or be the person on the bus that stands up and says it is not okay because our voices are the loudest when we raise them together.”

Everyday sexism: Laura Bates: Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhjsRjC6B8U&feature=youtu.be

Jackson Katz said that violence against women is men’s issue but I insist it is still a women’s issue. In the case of my encounter in the subway, the two helpful men knew the situation was uncomfortable but they could not interrupt until they clearly felt that I needed help. I mean, the two men did not help until I said something. Secondly, I was educated on how to protect myself in public, to speak up of how I am feeling now which helped me escape the situation, therefore education helped me. Thirdly, if the two men did not help me, I believed that the threatening man would still be shocked because I spoke up for myself and maybe that could have stopped him from asking uncomfortable questions. The sex education lecture changed my behavior in dealing with being uncomfortable in public. Therefore, I assert that it is still women’s issue. At first, women have to be educated about sex, human right, responsibility of life and etc. Second, women confidently have to show their power, wisdom and loving-kindness. Third, when women have both of the above, they should speak out to men who do violence against women; “do not do that”, “I do not want it” are what Laura Bates said but at that time, definitely women do not need men’s power to help themselves since women already have their own power.

A Korean proverb says “It’s the thirsty man who digs the well.” I think men do not need to dig the well since it is the women that thirst for it. Women have to be wise; they should not wait for others to dig the well or think it is men’s work. Women have to take action with subjectivity. When they need to, they just do it and not wait for society to change. If women need to ask for men’s help, they should be allowed to ask for it freely, not having to beg for it. Women have to wake up and speak out for women’s right loudly. In my experience, if women do not change, then nobody bothers to dig the well; so women have to see clearly the reality that it is still women’s issue.

Using a Blog to Gain Mutual Understanding

Mutual Understanding. Conceptual Illustration Royalty Free Stock Photo - Image: 29836205

© Zibedik | Dreamstime.com

This semester, I created a blog, between ignorance and enlightenment. It’s a good opportunity for me to manage my life and thinking, and then condense everything into something that is manageable. Although it is a kind of social platform, I think the greatest benefactor is myself. Throughout our life we are always learning, however, the most important thing is to manage our knowledge and experience, and to give feedback to society. Consequently, this social platform is meaningful.

In the MDIV670 Spiritual Leadership course, many issues related to spiritual leadership and social issues were discussed. I am one talks less and just listens, because my English not quite good enough to express what I want. The other reason is Asian people are less likely to express themselves in public. MDIV670 is a kind of international classroom; there are some students from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and Taiwan. Of course, the majority are American. By the project proposal, we shared the same platform, DHARMA DIALOGUE: BUDDHISM IN THE U.S., and created our own platform. Although I have experience to create a blog, the wordpress.com based platform took me several days to understand it. Finally, I am satisfied with my first English version blog. My friend misunderstood that it is another blog I suggested. She told me there are too many words; she only looks at the pictures not the articles. My other classmate told me it had a good design but she did not have time to see it.

By such an opportunity, we uploaded our reflection on skid row visiting. Everyone has a different point of view based on their family environment, experience and nationality. From the other classmates’ article, I knew that although we are unique we have the same spirit. We are willing to see, learn, reflect and improve. The different points of view from different people, helped enlarge my world and encompass more opinions. There is another thing I quite appreciate; we shortened our distance between classmates. Although every time we just greeted by smiling, the article sharing let us understand each other’s philosophy of life and values.

There are a total of 130 viewers till now, May 14, according to the following viewing data. The highest number of views in one day was 30. I am happy that one viewer’s reply to my skid row article, reframing transformation, said, “Yes, the reality of social injustice is there in Skid Row. We can observe it clearly. But the reality of homeless people in Skid Row is not only drug, alcohol, bankruptcy, but also humanity, self-esteem, humor, love and compassion. If we take time to make some contact with them, our view of those people is changed. They have self-esteem. They have love and compassion.” He shared with me the homeless people still have lo2ve, self-esteem and compassion. The comments once again broadened my firm thinking.

I am thankful for having such an opportunity to create our own blog, it’s our baby. It’s just a good beginning to move forward to the road of spiritual leadership. How to keep running suitability our blog and intercommunicate with people is very important.

I also thank my instructor Danny Fisher for introducing many spiritual leader topics, such as Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Martin Luther King, for us to discuss. And, I thank my classmates for sharing their values and ideas. Thank you for enlightening my seed of spiritual leadership.

May everybody be a good spiritual leader in your field of life.

REFLECTION ON PROJECT “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE”

REFLECTION ON “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE”

One week ago, I proposed the social project on the Caste System in India.  I used Facebook as media platform under the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Touch-the-Untouchable/609528329076721 in addition to my posts on Dharma Dialogue.

The discrimination in Indian society has really bothered me for the last ten years.  Why has it lasted for centuries?   I witnessed the unfair treatment and unbelievable misery in that country.  In a country, in which the Buddha reached enlightenment and tried to void the caste system, nothing had changed.  I had hoped to use this project to help understand its endurance.  Even the after the Buddha brought the light of Buddha nature to teach the equality in all beings later generations could not do anything about it.  King Asoka had power.  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi with strong will and voice moved the whole British colony out of India.  So why could they not shake the destructive caste system strongly enough to free the poor?

I really want to dig in this matter.  However, my project only got “likes” from some professors, classmates, friends as supports without any comments that would help me understand this matter of the caste system.  They might agree what I am talking about, but they did not have time to research to help me understand why the caste system has such firm long-lasting history.

I wonder why it did not get much feedback.  Maybe it came in for a short time while the final week of semester coming up.  Maybe it was not good enough to attract other’s discussion because it is an obvious social matter in India due to its long history.  It seems normalized in people’s eyes while there are so many other corruptions occurring in daily lives around us that can danger the whole world.

Anyway, I hope people can assist me to fulfill my wish of helping innocent young generation to have a chance to change their destinies.  Together they might change their society.

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Reflection of the class project

What if one day all of your privacy was deprived 24/7? –Someone always monitors wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do, say, and even think. Moreover, what if one day you noticed this fact, but you were institutionalized at psychiatric hospital by the government just because what you insist sounds schizophrenic? Believe it or not, today’s cutting edge technologies have enabled to do it. Only the matter is who will use it, and who can regulate them.

In March, 2011, The Obama Administration held a public hearing to listen to the victims of allegedly non-consensual human experiments on these technologies. Despite the severity of the problem, the mainstream media did not report the incident. Thus, it is speculated that some people in power may be involved in this issue and sabotage revealing the facts. As one of the victims, I can infer some facts from observation. Unfortunately, however, some facts remain unknown – perhaps only the main perps know.
Nonetheless, we can still share the information which is barely revealed. In fact, I found that sharing the information does help the victims find a way to cope with this difficult problem if not finding a solution.

Therefore, I interviewed two renowned experts in this field, Cheryl Welsh, the representative of Mind Justice, and Derrick Robinson, President of Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS).
I learned from Ms. Welsh the importance of painstaking effort to let people know the imminent crisis through education. I also learned from Mr. Robinson that cooperation among us is more important and effective than confrontation in order to prevent innocent people from being covertly governed.

We know that we cannot change the world overnight. Thus, no one would blame for it. However, if we do not try our best to tackle the imminent issue, we will be blamed by the future generation of people. Therefore, I would like to continue this project until the last victim finds a way to alleviate his or her sufferings.

http://unprecedentedhumanrightsviolations.wordpress.com/

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CALM REFLECTION or OUR INNER PIPELINE, PART TWO

My  social media project involved a new Facebook page entitled Calm Reflection, https://www.facebook.com/calmreflection, and a blog, http://www.calmreflectionblog.com.

The most important thing I learned by completing this project was that I have a lot of stored up knowledge, and some wisdom, and that once I get out from under my own self-doubt, I become quite creative.  And the way I get out from under these feelings of self-doubt is what my project is all about.

All the time I was working on my blog, I kept reminding myself to go deeper than my thoughts like: “What should I write?” or “I’m no good at this.”  And when I did submerge into my true heart, bypassing these fear-based worries, I really began to flow.  I just flowed!

I also learned that social media is a viable way to connect to others, although my long-term goal will be developing a website and doing what I need to do to show up on page one of Google.

I received some good comments on my PART ONE blog post.  One comment was especially supportive, saying that my post beautifully expressed a wonderful intention.  And a close friend of mine, Paul Fetler, who is an Ananda Minister, really validated my ideas, and I had asked him to be honest so that I could learn from him.  Paul has been teaching Yoga and Meditation for quite some time.  So when he found my ideas and presentation positive, this was very encouraging.

Another friend who I worked with on my last job became excited saying Calm Reflection was something he needed to learn.  I hope he keeps checking in.

In conclusion, my first sojourn into cyber-space brought me home safely, so I think I’ll start planning my next trip.

A Reflection on Water, Health, and Compassion

Water pollution

Water pollution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

H2OcomesPassion is my Pinterest title. Before I started creating this page, I thought of using the name Water, Health, and Compassion. However, upon doing research for this project, I felt that I have been passionate on the issue of water. The more understand about water, the more passion I put into this project. My passion is not only to understanding water, its benefits, and its composition in the human body and in the whole universe, but also learning to appreciate the benefits that water brings and the advantages I have living in U.S., where I can access fresh, clean water everyday. My passion also turns into Compassion. I feel empathy for people who live in drought areas, for people who day by day use polluted and contaminated water for drinking and for cooking. Water has affected me to the point where I consciously feel empathy when reading news about polluted water, and where I share my joy when people have an opportunity to enjoy fresh, clean, water from a new well. I have joined a group of volunteers in Facebook  which volunteers to do fundraising for building wells in Africa. I have learned how this group connects people together to do this charity work and how they devote their lives for the benefits of others.

Counting from the time I posted my proposal, I have received 7 comments. Two comments, from Anonymous and Thaitriplegem, confirm my purpose by saying that water symbolizes compassion and harmony. If one makes oneself to be like water, then one is easy to be with people because water adapts to its environment.

One stated, “Without water we will die, without heath we will painful and without compassion this world would looks like hell.” This helps me understand the main function of water, is nurturing. Water nurtures life, and it is itself a source of compassion.

Thesilverbodhisattva gives me a wonderful source relating to water: water has memory. It helps me understand more about the other sources I have posted on my Pinterest, which is water in prayer and practice.

Mettadharma commented, “Water is symbol of the purity. It is clear, cool, and calm. If people can make their mind like water, it will be very useful.”

Dawn made her comment on my proposal and Pinterest page, and she suggested adding a “Call to Action” board. My thanks to her for a great idea, but I forgot to do that. I didn’t have a specific board to list practical things people can do to better the situation of water.

Minh Tu also suggested that I should have a “water recycling” board. I think his suggestion and Dawn’s are similar. I will create a board named Call to Action, which includes water cycling, and water conserving.

Both Dawn and Minh Tu like the experiments of Dr. Emoto. However, Dawn brought up the point that this work hasn’t been proven by scientists; whereas, Minh Tu emphasized water’s ability of being purified by spiritual practices.

Back to my project on Pinterest, my purpose is to raise people’s awareness of water’s benefits on body, mind, and spirit. I have created so far 12 boards and 173 pins. The titles of my boards are:

  1. Information
  2. H2O resources
  3. Water in Reality: Drought and Contamination
  4. Benefits of Water
  5. Tips in Using Water
  6. Prayer and Practice
  7. Charity Work
  8. Organizations in Action
  9. Video & Movie
  10. Books
  11. Call to Action
  12. Others

This page has been in existence about three weeks and I have 5 followers and 10 people following. With what I have gotten so far, I am not sure that using social media such as Pinterest can help me spread out the message of water to everyone. Based on my observation of my Facebook account, I believe that in order to influence more people of using water appropriately and of helping others, I should take an action by participating in a group consisted of individuals who have the same passion. Although my Pinterest has few followers, I believe that I myself have changed during this project, and at least some others also have changed to be more mindful of using water.

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