Living Values? Hmmm... what does that conjure up for you? I was filling in a survey for Getup in the last couple of days and realized that much of what feels out of balance in the World is the result of a universal lack of clarity around what is truly valuable. Separate selves clamor for their ‘wants’ perceived as needs, blind to the underlying fears that run them, looking at a really small picture. It’s not until the big lesson arrives that there is no choice but to get clear about what is really important, because it is just too painful to continue in the same old patterns. Maybe we have finally had enough? GetUp is an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organisation giving everyday Australians opportunities to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues. www.getup.org.au GetUp does not back any particular party, but aims to build an accountable and progressive Parliament – a Parliament with economic fairness, social justice and environment at its core. I became a member of GetUp in 2006 and saw then the awesome potential it afforded me to stay connected to what was happening in our parliament and empowered me to communicate and support what felt right in my heart. I am also a member of Avazz www.avazz.org an organization that fulfils a similar purpose Internationally. For me their development indicates the increased responsibility we feel to contribute to a different world. The election of Obama, and the worldwide interest in the US elections is a major sign that we want to change, are less inclined to blame and more interested in being the difference. The notion of seeing wrong or wanting to place blame outside of ourselves only creates more of the ‘same old’ projection and denial. If I am pointing a finger at George Bush in self righteous indignation, it’s easy to be insensitive to the quality of my own responsibility, tolerance or honesty. Right mind simply doesn’t indulge the idea of wrong, as this line from the Way of the Servant reveals: 6
| Issue 1
The servant knows she fixes nothing. Seeing not a fearful world, she does not deliver it from “evil.” ~ Jeshua ben Joseph Interesting that Jeshua says the world is diametrically opposed to the Kingdom. Interesting that “evil” reversed is “live”. Could LIVING VALUES then be the ‘way’ to bring us together as one, replacing the mistaken values of separation, the underlying mis-creation in which the world exists? Even the word ‘sin’ came from a medieval term, meaning ‘to miss the mark’. All of us shape our life around our perceptions based on what we value, but often from an undefined or unspecified relationship with the many values involved in living. If I value ‘things’, but never really define what I value most or the quality of the values I live by, then I am uncertain of my relationship to all things and am more likely to mis-create. Living Values – a UNESCO affiliated program for creating communication between people everywhere to determine common ground and pathways to shared understanding and appreciation of each other and life. www.livingvalues.net In their own words this is how the Living Values organization defines the program: The purpose of Living Values: Educational Program is to provide guiding principles and tools for the development of the whole person, recognizing that the individual is comprised of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.
In a world torn by cultural, economic, philosophic and religious differences, perhaps the thing most likely to save humanity would be to find not where we are different, but where we are the same. Way of the Heart
Karuna Bali Foundation in Ubud
The Living Values system of sharing awareness and exploring values is experiential, interactive and profoundly simple.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Value as: 1. Worth, desirability, utility, qualities on which these depend. 2. Worth as estimated, valuation, subjective estimate of quality. 3. Ones principles or standards, ones judgment of what is valuable or important in life. The Living Values program was developed originally to assist teachers to engender a culture in schools and classrooms that brought awareness to relationships, communication and personal responsibility for ourselves, how we treat each other, our environment and what we base our actions on. In a world torn by cultural, economic, philosophic and religious differences, perhaps the thing most likely to save humanity would be to find not where we are different, but where we are the same. Countries go to war in the name of religion, yet when one talks personally to both sides, we discover that they both value the same things and believe those things are what they are fighting for. I was in the Old City of Jerusalem at a multi faith gathering in 2006. We invited Jews, Muslims and Christians to come together to share a social evening and talk about Peace. I was blessed to be in a break out group with four generations of Muslim women, with a handful of our tour group. The only man was one of their sons who had been living in England and spoke English. He translated for us, but in truth we did not need a translator. We all experienced the most amazing curiosity and love for each other, recognizing the moment as sacred. In the end we most wanted to know who was married and how many children they had. But it wasnâ€™t about those things, it was the simple things that express our connection and Love, for in the end they are the most profound and meaningful things in our lives. 8
| Issue 1
At the end of last year, Karuna Bali Foundation was given the awesome task of being the licensed headquarters for Living Values for all of Indonesia, which opened a doorway to a world of possibilities that we are marveling at daily, even hourly. Because of our involvement there we felt that it was a great opportunity to immerse in Living Values here in Australia and we organized a workshop January 5th 2009. Seventeen people participated in the workshop with an age range of 17 to 69. Three of the group where under 21 and they added a profound element in their willingness to be open and share with the older generations, in what at times were deeply personal and intimate exchanges. The Living Values system of sharing awareness and exploring values is experiential, interactive and profoundly simple. It is feeling based rather than intellectual and involves games, introspection, sharing and creative expression. The range of exercises that our group participated in came from the Manuals for the 3-7 year old age range and the 8-14 age range. The exercises were so relative to our day to day experience that we all found them completely absorbing, stimulating and insightful. Simplicity is the key. Itâ€™s not so much about ideas as feelings and everyone agreed at the end of the three days that they had been amazed by how much they had learnt about, their inner life, their relationship to their values and sharing. They all expressed a deep respect for the prospect of examining and exploring values as a potential to contribute to and enrich their lives. People who had been on a committed spiritual path for many years, found the simplicity and no frills approach refreshing and powerful.
Karuna Baliâ€™s Rural Village Education director, Scholastica opens the English language sing along
People who had been on a committed spiritual path for many years, found the simplicity and no frills approach refreshing and powerful. Way of the Heart
The openness and willingness of the Balinese children is such a delight.
What a different world it would be. At least we would know that we lived by and for and what really matters to us.
The final day of our journey with values culminated in two short plays that the group devised and performed in to express their insights into values. I think everyone agreed at the end that we found sides of ourselves, joy and expression that we donâ€™t often tap into and it was quite hilarious and very rewarding. I for one am sold! I can see how this program could enrich the life of everyone on the planet, in so many varied and life changing ways. I heartily recommend it for our children and people at every stage of life, to find what really matters to them and use that as their compass for choice and expression. What a different world it would be. At least we would know that we lived by and for and what really matters to us. Love
Su anne The next program for Australia is being offered in Byron Bay 25th-27th April 2009 inclusive with a second workshop following immediately. There are only a few places left, so if you are interested contact: email@example.com or phone 07 5563 0036. b
Generosity, morality, respect, service, listening to the Dharma and meditation â€“ these are the actions for the good. Each one is a practice that can be cultivated and further refined, becoming the causes for our own happiness and the happiness of others. These acts for the good becomes our gift to the world. ~ Joseph Goldstein 10
| Issue 1