“The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character:
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.”
An Inspired Revisioning of the Charter for Compassion
that some of us worked on briefly to expand the scope to include ALL living beings – and the wide range of genders who were not included in the original document. May we all contemplate what our personal and organizational charters of compassion might look like -and how we would live ever more fully into them!
“The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all life as we would wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put all living beings there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single being, treating all life, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to any being or to incite hatred by denigrating them – even our enemies – is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased suffering in the name of religion and the interests of humanity.
We therefore call upon all people – to restore compassion at the center of morality and life – to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate – to ensure all people are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions, science, and cultures – to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural, biological and religious diversity – to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all living beings, even those regarded as enemies, or commodities.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep inter-dependence, compassion is essential to harmonious relationships with all life and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.”
Today’s musings are offered as a mirror for each of our deep reflection,
to clarify our own beliefs, the values that guide our lives,
and the impacts that each of our choices, actions, and inactions
have on the lives of all we have the power to influence.
In our work guiding the once secret Jedi Warrior Training Progam for the U.S. Army Special Forces, we often quoted Lao Tsu’s wisdom that:
A man with outer courage, dares to die.
A man with inner courage, dares to live!”
Our life-experiences shape our beliefs/worldview/identity…
Our beliefs/worldview/identity shape our values….
Our values determine our choices/motivations and drive our actions…
and, our actions – or our lack of taking action –
have impact and consequence for lives of countless people…
Yesterday was National Whistleblowers Day and the events of this day
give us pause for deep reflection regarding the complex circumstances of these times.
In this spirit, we invite you to pause and consider….
“If you saw incredible things, awful things,
things that belonged in the public domain
and not in some (secret) server stored in a dark room in Washington, D.C.
What would you do?”*
“Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait until the bombs are falling….
Don’t wait until people are dying.
Go to the press and reveal.”
-Daniel Ellsberg, whose leak of classified “Pentagon Papers” helped to expose the lies that allowed the war in Vietnam – and – helped to end the war.
See his brilliant essay: Secrecy and National Security Whistleblowing
“I want people to see the truth
because without information
you can not make informed decisions as a public.”
*attributed to Bradley Manning
Pause to reflect….
What actions will you take – or not take –
that could change our world for the better?
“Meditation is a very general term. It refers to traditions that
developed in all the world’s great wisdom traditions and encompasses
millions of forms of practice. As I understand the diversity of
contemplative practices, the practices of meditation are about
recognizing and liberating ourselves from our delusions, confusions,
and unrealistic views of reality that lead us to act in ways where we’re
missing the point of what’s going on and who we truly are.
Meditation helps us recognize and free ourselves from the forces
of habit, delusion and compulsion and addiction. It opens the way to
begin to discover and realize the true freedom of the mind, and allows
us to awaken to and realize our true nature and our highest potential -
to touch and discover and live more fully into our most essential
nature. As we come to see the true nature of ourselves and reality
more deeply, then the practice allows us to live in harmony and be
congruent with the way things are. As we come into that kind of
harmony, then the way that we live will naturally be informed by
participating in a wisdom and touching a dimension of the mind that is
resonant within all beings. So there’s deep compassion, there’s
kindness, non-violence, peace of mind, a sense of reverence and
devotion for the mystery and majesty of ourselves and the world in
which we live, a way of carrying an energy of blessings and goodness.
The whole purpose of meditation is to reverse the process of habituation with the unwholesome properties of the mind by becoming habituated with the wholesome.
If my awareness is so occluded that I don’t realize that my right hand is connected to my left hand then I could chop that off or I could hurt it in some way because it’s other than me. But once we awaken to a deeper sense of our connectedness to everyone and everything else, then we awaken to the realization that we are a part of a single body, and to hurt or harm ourselves is to hurt all beings.
We once took a group of very tough Special Forces soldiers who were training with us on a month-long silent Mindfulness/Vipassana-style retreat called “the encampment”. We’re three weeks into this month-long mindfulness retreat, and we gave a talk one night about interdependence and interconnectedness. We explained how some of the experiences they were having through the meditation -the feeling of being more connected to each other and the world and participating in a larger field of being – were a natural result as the noise in their minds quieted down and they were able to touch more essential dimensions of their selves. At the end of that talk on interconnectedness and interdependence, one of the guys raised his hand and said, ‘Let me get this straight. If what you’re saying is really true, then how can we ever kill anybody?’ And we spent the next 2-3 hours just exploring that dialogue because there’s no easy answers to that.
From our own experience of meditation, the heightened sensitivity that comes from being a part of my environment, the deeper sense of empathy and connection with people, become so much stronger, that I think it naturally leads to at least the aspiration not to harm, and ultimately to the inability to do so.”
- Joel and Michelle Levey (from an interview titled, Can Meditation Save the World?”)
Join us for either or both of our Summer Intensive programs….
Summer Learning Lab August 23-26, 2013
Note – evening of 8/23, days of 8/24-25, personal mentoring sessions 8/26
A rare opportunity for an Intensive Immersion in the Leveys’ Essential Guiding Principles, Practices, and Wisdom Teachings at Leveys’ home in Seattle
Over the years we have received numerous requests from sincere friends, colleagues, and students to have an opportunity to study closely with us in a more intimate and in-depth way to inspire their personal development and professional training. In response to these repeated requests, we are moved to offer this special Summer Learning Laboratory with us at our home in Seattle. In order to optimize this learning opportunity, we are scheduling this Lab to follow our 5-day retreat on Orcas Island (August 17-22). This timing will provide interested participants with the option of extending the Retreat into the Learning Lab for additional inspiration, deepening, reflection, and integration of the core teachings we will share. Click here for more details
Summary of Public Teachings and Gathering
with Michelle and Joel Levey
September 29 to October 4, 2013
Wisdom and Wellness
Teachings at Yoga Circle Studio
- in Snohomish, 1-4 pm
September 29 to October 4, 2013
The Dawn of Interspirituality – An International Conference
At Cascadian Center – just north of Seattle – with Father Thomas Keating, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Mirabai Star, and other interspiritual pioneers – including Joel & Michelle Levey
October 14, 2013 – American Society for Anesthesiology Conference
in San Francisco
Mastering Stress, Preventing Burnout, and Promoting Resilience for Anesthesiologists and Perioperative Physicians
Italy w/Leveys – June 17-22, 2014
Enhancing Care Through Mindful Awareness, Compassion, and Healing Presence: A Seminar for Healthcare Practitioners – June 2014
A Special Workshop near Assisi, Italy for Physicians
and Health Care Professionals