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The Message vs The Messenger
It seems human nature, when given a message from God (whoever or whatever we believe that to be), to venerate the messenger (Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Bahá’u’lláh, Joseph Smith, Gandhi, etc etc etc). It’s as if we can’t separate the two, but all too often, we end up focusing on the Messenger rather than on the Message. And, they’ve all had essentially the same message: promote peace, love others, practice compassion, be grateful for what you have, don't succumb to greed, etc.. They also usually include having a RESPECT for nature and an appreciation for nature's bounty. We call these Truths.
Would you like to submit some words of wisdom or ask a question? We'd love to hear from you!
"I was recently asked to give a talk on empathy for the Singapore Kindness Movement. And in preparation for it, I delved once again into the literature surrounding it, what would be most relevant and some interesting research to share. As I read, it brought back to mind a question that I had always asked myself: What’s the difference between empathy, sympathy and compassion? Are they variants of each other or is one deeper than the other? Here is my answer to this question. Sympathy is the heightened awareness of another person’s plight as something to be alleviated (Lauren, 2005). The emphasis here is awareness i.e. coming into the knowledge that there is another person’s whose situation is deserving of your attention and that there is some element of pain/suffering that that person is experiencing. From there, care and concern are shown towards that person. It typically sounds like this, ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ or ‘I hope you are coping well.’ Empathy is the attempt of one who is self aware to understand and even vicariously experience another person’s situation and emotional state (Baron-Cohen, 2006). Most people refer to this as ‘being in another person’s shoes’. Literal examples include wearing your other half’s shoes or a husband putting on a pregnancy suit to see how the wife’s mobility is affected carrying a baby. The emphasis here is experience i.e. being able to almost feel what the other person is going through. It typically sounds like this, ‘It sounds like you had a bad day at the office and you probably need a break’. Compassion is taken a step further, where a person feels empathy and then a desire to help alleviate the suffering of the other person. The emphasis here is on action i.e. wanting to help. Having compassion for another requires one to put the other person first, imagine what the person is going through, then consider ways in which to help the person feel better and cope. Karen Armstrong, author of 12 Steps to a More Compassionate Life, believes the fundamental principle of compassion is the golden rule: ‘Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you’. It typically sounds like this, ‘I can feel your pain and it must be so hard to go through this alone. Is there any way I can help?’ From the above, it appears that there 3 stages that correspond to the 3 concepts. Sympathy focuses on awareness;
Empathy focuses on experience; and Compassion focuses on action. In reflecting on the distinction between the 3 concepts, it has made me realize that acting with compassion requires us to always put the other person first. When you help someone who is distressed and wounded, you are giving a bit of yourself and focusing on the other. Buddha probably says it best - “Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. “"
"With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose."
"To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment."
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"As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster."
"Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 9:05 am | Updated: 4:44 pm, Wed Aug 27, 2014.
BY GINNIE GRAHAM News Columnist | 33 comments
Should a 9-year-old be training to use an Uzi?
By asking the question does not infer an anti- or pro-gun stand. It’s a question focused on safety.
While this is traditionally been a parenting decision, it’s one that impacts others around the child.
A piece on the Guns & Ammo website gives pointers on how to choose the right firearm for a child.
The column is a first-person account of teaching two girls, ages 12 and 15, how to shoot pistols and rifles.
The two key elements in making the choice, according to the article, is the level of recoil and proper fit.
For handguns, the suggestion are long-rifle, semi-automatic pistols, like a Ruger Mark III or a Browning Buck Mark. For rifles, the writer swears by .22-caliber weapons for its safety features and focus on shot placement when firing.
Shotguns are a whole different kind of fit, but the writer eliminates the popular 12-gauge for its excessive recoil then provides an assessment for the other options.
There is no mention of whether a child in fourth grade should be handling submachine guns alone.
I’m a novice shooter, getting a gun license a couple of years ago when concealed carry became law. I went with a .22-caliber Ruger semi-automatic at the suggestion of my instructor. By the end of the training, my arms ached from keeping the recoil in check and holding the weapon steady. It’s a much more difficult skill than I thought.
In searching other major sites about firearms safety and training for children, there is little to nothing about training in fully automatic weaponry. No group appears to be actively supporting this notion.
Considering the concerns about recoil and fit, handing pre-teens military-style submachine guns is a bad idea. It’s not about just the physical ability of a child, there is a mental and emotional maturity to consider as well.
It might seem like a fun idea to try out an Uzi with a kid, but it’s not cute when a child loses control and panics.
That appears to be the case in the death of a 39-year-old firearms instructor in Arizona. A video shows him with a petite girl changing the Uzi from single-shot mode to fully automatic.
News reports state the stream of bullets caused the girl to scream as significant recoil jerked the weapon to the side shooting the instructor in the head.
How tragic for the instructor and this little girl.
There will be much discussion about the safety of teaching children about weapons, including age limits, type of firearms appropriate and correct instruction techniques.
It’s a fair conversation and not an attack on the Second Amendment.
Ginnie Graham 918-581-8376
Reprinted for educational purposes