Illuminating Insights

With Joseph Kenneth (Viña Del Mar, Chile)

The Power of Compassion

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It would simply be an injustice to do a monthly issue discussing living to make a difference, without mentioning a few truly magnificent men and women in our history that made amazing positive impacts. Realizing that this material may be a review to some, and new to others, I ask that no matter where you come from; use these words to inspire a positive meaning in any way, shape, or form, that you see fit.

            I, as you may too, feel a bit outdone, and even at times, discouraged, when considering the amount of good that someone like mother Theresa accomplished in her lifetime, or the message of peace spoken by the Dali Lama, in spite of an endless repressive rule over his religion and people.  And most of us cannot even imagine what it would be like to liberate an entire nation through non-violence, as did Mahatma Gandhi. As spiritualists, we go about our day with a certain level of awareness, that we may feel is somewhat advanced, but how do we really apply this? And to speak directly, how do you, apply your spiritual lifestyle and awareness, to make a difference each day? I ask that you let this question circulate in you mind as we explore some amazing stories now.

joe1          I once chatted with a young Catholic priest from India, who had worked personally with Mother Theresa. Among many amazing tidbits that he shared about her, the one thing that grabbed me, and wont let go of me to this day, is how he described here face. He shared with me that when she looked into your eyes, and asked you to do something, no matter how simple of difficult, it was literally impossible to say no. Her face radiated both kindness and pain, in a way that could bring you to tears.  He said that whatever task she asked of you, she had either once done the same herself, or was fully prepared to accomplish it on her own. It was though her own actions were so powerful, that no one could refuse her requests.

            At first I didn’t think too much of this, but as time went on, I began to remember this more often. Since then, I have realized that her presence was so extremely passive, and her dedication in service to humanity was so sincere, that she literally walked this earth with an ironic form of power. What this directly validates is that true power is only achieved through pure compassion, and sincere service. The reason I begin with this example of mother Theresa is to immediately allow you, the reader, to acknowledge that making a lasting positive difference in this life will never be accomplished by force. The reason this priest, and anyone else for that matter, could not say no while looking into this blossoming saints eyes, was that her unyielding power was enough to literally subdue anyone’s initial indifferences. In other words, her presence demanded cooperation, through a passive authority. I trust you can concur, that this is authentic spiritual power of a superior level. And this serves as something to reach toward in our own lives, even with the smallest steps.

            joe2I had the tremendous honor of seeing the Dali Lama speak on his visit to the United States a few years back. The sheer presence of this small, peaceful man, demanded the utmost reverence, though he commanded none through words or action. His message never fails to make me feel complete, and remind me that all is truly well in the world, but the one teaching that he shared, that remains closest to me is the following. And I paraphrase, as he spoke in his adorable broken English, -you cannot control someone through fear, this only controls their actions, but it does not control their thoughts. He then giggled casually as usually. I recall he was referring lightly here to world dictators, and demonstrating that in due time, all nations rise up against repression in spite of the costs, and that heir collective and individual thoughts cannot be taken away through forceful leadership. The point for us to consider and apply in our own life’s here, is once more, that a passive existence of sincere service is in reality, power. The Dali Lama himself refers to the Chinese as “my friends, the enemy.” Naturally the Tibetan culture is no stranger to oppression and dictatorship, but hearing this gentle man speak so kindly towards those who literally kill his people and religion, made me realize that no matter the harshness of circumstances, we are still able to meet them with a compassion so great that they are conquered.

            joe 3As a child, I remember one of my father’s favorite historical films was Gandhi. Back then; I didn’t completely understand the utter depth of how passive resistance liberated India from the British rule. I clearly remember watching the movie and seeing the crowd of robed Indians walking continuously into the British military line, to be beaten with the butt of a rifle, or be shot dead, all the while not raising one arm or word in defense. This stuck with me in an amazing way. I remember thinking how sad it was to be beaten and killed without trying to defend. The life and works of Mahatma Gandhi speak clearly to me today more then ever. His motive was sincere and just, and his methods were, to this day, a powerful demonstration of what can be accomplished through passive resistance to create change.

            What’s more, I appreciate the fact that Gandhi mentioned on many occasions, that he drew his inspiration and will, from the teachings of Jesus Christ. He adopted the peaceful message of Jesus, and actually applied it in his own life, to ultimately liberate a nation passively.

            So again, what can you and I take from all of this? You guessed it, peace is power! I remember hearing Deepak Chopra say once with his Buddhist based teachings, something to the nature of, when you are truly defenseless, you cannot be victimized. Meaning that in our defenselessness, we show there is nothing to be gained by attacking us. There are those around us who continue to mistake our kindness for weakness, but we must remain clear that this is their issue, and not ours.

            As you read these brief examples of passive change, created by these three great human beings, you may be thinking, that’s great, they used something other than force to achieve something wonderful, but how could I accomplish anything like that? So I ask you once more, as a spiritualist, how can you apply all of these powerful examples into your own life? Some may feel like their life is a simple series of actions that begin at birth and end at death. And quite truthfully, if this is your thinking, then this is your reality. However, I personally challenge you to rise above the mundane patterns of conformity, and go out to make a positive change in whatever way you see fit, to better your life, and those around you. It matters not if you are a man or women, a child or elderly, strive to be a positive example in your family and in your community. Find ways to make a difference each day. Find the part of yourself that needs to reach out and touch the lives of others. Invoke and live the message of these great spiritualists mentioned, and the many others who are not mentioned here. Use their examples to spawn positive changes in everything you touch.

Remain passive, and demonstrate through your example alone. Avoid recognition and applause, do not consider your karma as gain, and look into the eyes of those around you to see what really needs to be done to help them. Remain open to all opportunities to make a difference no matter how great or small. I tell you there is no freedom or security in waiting for the world to bring you happiness. But you will find liberation and certainty when choosing to bring happiness to the world.

-Joseph Kenneth


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Comments (2)

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This is so beautiful joseph!! I adore your words and messages. Power in compassion, nothing more!!:)

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nice post

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