Consciousness… Week 10

a Moment for Wisdom…



A Moment for…



“When we grow in spiritual consciousness, we identify with all that is in the world — there is no exploitation. It is ourselves we’re helping, ourselves we’re healing.”

Dr. V (Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy)


“A person who can see nothing but God everywhere has lost the ability to either hurt or be hurt.  By virtue of being completely and totally defenseless, they become invincible.

Deepak Chopra





Personal Wisdom:


Where do you find it easy to identify with the world?


Where do you find it more difficult to identify with the world?


Do you have an experience of being one with those you are helping?


Have you given help to “the Other” and realized that you were helping yourself?


Societal Wisdom:


Where is exploitation taking place in your society?  How long has it gone on?


Who perpetrates exploitation and suffering in your society?  Why?  Why does exploitation and suffering persist?


What are people in your society afraid of?  Where do they believe they can be hurt?



a Moment with Sharif…




Two interesting words crop up in today’s quotes:  “exploitation” and “Invincible”.


Many of us have an experience of exploitation – either of our own or of others.  We know the kinds of anger, shame and powerlessness that can arise when we focus on being exploited and abused.(Sometimes we over-focus on our exploitation and abuse, using it as a badge of identification – which it is not.  Understanding it is one thing, constantly reliving it is another.  More on this in another “Moment”.)


In our society, we have developed tools for interrupting and/or stopping various kinds of exploitation and abuse.  Popular now are “anti-bullying” activities associated with schools and children.


It’s a little harder for us to recognize the experience of exploitation as the exploiter.  But, as we live in Breaker society, we are indeed participants in exploitation.  Perhaps you bullied others in school.  (While I was indeed bullied in school, I also did my share of bullying.  And, in Camden, NJ, “bullying” had a deadly quality to it.)Perhaps you own clothing sewn in an exploitive sweat shop somewhere in Asia.  Perhaps you own stock in an oil company, one that participated in the theft of oil from Native Americans, making people poor in order to make others inordinately rich.


Compassion requires us to feel the pain that exploitation causes.  To feel our own pain
and suffering.  To feel the pain and suffering of others.To feel the pain and suffering that we have caused others.  This is the path of our humanity.  Without being able to do this, we cannot be human.


Dr. V’s quote invites us even further, though.  He is pointing the way toward inclusive compassion, inclusive consciousness.  When you are conscious of helping “those people”, you are practicing dualistic compassion… which is admirable!  And, there is yet
another level – when you recognize that there are no “Others”, just yourSelf, in another form.


There are people who try to short-cut the process.  I’ve heard people say, “I don’t see any pain or exploitation – I’m one with the Universe!”  Not so fast.  There’s a way to use the concept of inclusive compassion as a smokescreen, as a way to deny that there is exploitation in the world, and especially to attempt to deny one’s own role in perpetuating suffering and exploitation.  “I’m one with the Universe!” means that we have carefully examined our own lives and actions for signs – direct or indirect – of exploitation and


The Chopra quote brings to mind the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and also the teachings of the Tibetan Buddhists. 


Let’s talk about the Tibetans first.  They have a concept called, “dra la”, which means “above the enemy”.To be so far above and removed from your “enemy”, that you don’t
have an “enemy”.  Imagine a two year old hitting you with their little fist.  Would you be “hurt”?  Wouldn’t you tolerate or forgive their behavior?  You wouldn’t hit them back, because you are so much bigger – not just in size, but in knowledge, wisdom and life experience.   This “size” gives you the perspective to forgive.


The same is true, even when the “enemy” is older than the toddler.


This brings us to Jesus.  We are familiar with “turn the other cheek”.  Let the action happen – even accentuate it.  In that way, you cannot be harmed by the action.By being “completely and totally defenseless”, we live our lives in such a way that we cannot be harmed. We become invincible.


Easier said than done!I’ve had plenty of experiences around the world where I’ve had the
opportunity to look into the eyes of my would-be attackers, with compassion and forgiveness.(Believe me, practicing compassion with a soldier pointing an assault rifle, barking orders you cannot understand, is a real test!) 


And: I have completely wigged out when a Sri Lankan bus driver failed to give me six cents in change due to me.  SIX CENTS!  (One of my true low points…)  Jesus says that I could have diffused the situation by handing over another six cents.  Oh well… it’s nice to know where my trigger points are…


It’s one thing to read the words of our wisdom teachers, or practice them under ideal situations.  It’s another thing to practice under challenging conditions.That is where our practice becomes a truly growing experience.






Consciousness Exercises:


This week’s “Consciousness” exercises:


In the comments above, I indicated a few of my trigger points: violence is not a trigger for me – but money is (or, at least, has been).  Racial issues are not triggering for me, but “inability” issues are (for example, my inability to learn another language).


  1. What are current “trigger” issues for you?  What are the issues where it becomes difficult to practice compassion and inclusivity?  Make a list.
  2.  What are some of your past trigger issues, ones that you have successfully resolved?  Where can you now practice compassion?
  3. What were your strategies for dealing with your trigger issues?  How did you employ those strategies?
  4. Based on the above, what strategies will you use to eliminate your current trigger issues?  







All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.








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One Response to Consciousness… Week 10

  1. karen says:

    turn the other cheek…nothing changes
    it is not enough to be compassionate…one must act…things change

    people say that time changes things… it is really people who change them
    there’s theory…what we choose to do (or not do)…and observation of results
    minding the light

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