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by Kate Siner
Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the language of love. – Rumi
rilliant leaders throughout time have shown us that fighting our way to a better world only leads to anger and angst, which in turn creates new problems or compounds the old ones. Different tools—love, truth and compassion—are needed to create the change we desire. These tools, which have always been with us, make up a set of holistic and healing approaches to adversity that transforms the world around us.
The entire world benefits when we choose to build our lives with these tools, however, it takes practice to bring love, compassion and truth to each situation. Buddha says, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Love is the most powerful, world-changing tool we have. It takes a high degree of awareness and sophistication to experience negativity and move beyond it into a place of love. In order to do so, we must cultivate love inside ourselves by hunting down the barriers to love that live within us more ferociously than we hunt down barriers to love in the world outside us. This does not mean that we turn hatred toward these parts of our-
selves. It means we see them, accept them and let them go.
Truthfulness is a timehonored and respected trait. To be truthful is to be honest and trustworthy. It requires a commitment to speaking and acknowledging the truth, and to acting with integrity. When we have our truth, we also have our respect and love. There is a paradox to truth, though: truth does not make anything untrue. Whenever we negate something, a lie is present. Truthfulness allows for multiple perspectives in a way that honors each of those perspectives.
“No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself,” asserts Muhammad. To be compassionate is to open one’s heart to the suffering of others. Compassion is a healing action; when we offer compassion to ourselves or others we are healing ourselves or others. When we practice tending to our own pain and suffering, we gain an ability to give love to others when they experience hardship of their own.
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Still, sometimes we might find ourselves feeling closed off or judgmental about others that are in a difficult spot. We can feel wronged, and therefore, justified in withholding our compassion toward that person, but if our desire is to impact the world, each time we feel wronged we must stop and take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective. While none of these skills are easy, they are all quite simple and in the reach of every single one of us. We don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have an impact. We only need to focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world. Dr. Kate Siner is an educator, facilitator and author, with a Ph.D. in psychology. She has developed a series of successful personal development programs where she teaches these principles among others. Learn more at KateSiner.com. See ad on page 7.
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