With a familiar sound, the pages of my notebook from the weeks in India fall open. With only 10 pages of journal entries, it’s cover to cover with notes from our group prep sessions and sessions with His Holiness. Reading the inked words scrawled across the page, the humility and gratitude felt towards the experience and the distinctive heartache particular to missing H.H. and the group rises from where it lives under the busyness of daily life back in America.
Many of us who traveled to India hope to inspire change; we are change-makers, idealistic yet jaded, fighting to respond to injustices and to make a difference.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure you are a change-maker too. Whether it’s wishing that someday women will be able to walk alone at night without fear, buying at a farmer’s market, working as a teacher, mentor, or giving advice to a friend, all of us have causes we advocate and things we want to change. We visualize a world that is better, safer, happier. But, if you’re anything like me, you can only feel so much before overwhelm, depression, and burnout hits. Would we be happier if we just didn’t know? Ignorance, after all, is said to be bliss.
To be a change-maker, to be an activist, to be a person who is intentional about the impact of our purchases, choices, and words, means opening oneself to seeing and feeling deeply. And that vulnerability is scary.
With gentleness and wisdom, H.H. spoke to us again and again about the importance of seeing the humanity and tenderness within everyone and to be strong in activism while never holding an us/them mentality. Day after day he spoke about ways of making the world a kinder and more equal place. Day after day his words and demeanor of humor, generosity, and profound wisdom wore away my cynicism and burnout and left me with energy, intention, and humbleness. He gave me a new view on how to be an activist.
I wish everyone could have had the experience that I did in India. Unfortunately that is not possible. I very much hope and believe that the book conveying H.H. teaching will be moving and profound. I am so very glad that each of you will have the chance to have your own experience of his teachings and I hope that it will leave you with much to think about and renewed strength to address whatever challenges face you.
Until next time,