A Rabbi’s View On the Way Forward In the Middle East.

http://www.ciunow.org/insights/understanding-the-other-the-way-forward-in-the-middle-east/

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A Lesson In Empathy #1: Manners In Public Spaces

This is of course not for those following my blog, they resonated with the words I have wrote so you are aware of this level of empathy. I thank you for taking time to read and to hold my hand energetically. 🙂

This is for those who have forgotten that part of themselves and feel a bit distant from others. They can not quite see the connection, but they happened to stumble upon my blog and are reading it right now in whatever time and place that they are at.

This lesson is not to condemn, nor ridicule. It is to REMIND you of what you are as a human and what you have the potential to create on this planet. I understand that most humans want peace and love. But many don’t know HOW to get it. I like to teach using personal examples since I find people connect ideas more to their own life to really take it in.

Example 1:

I was at the movies last night to watch The 5th Wave,  and I noticed that at a 9:55pm movie there were two babies in the theater crying. There were people talking loudly, not whispering to each other, texting with the light blinding others views. I was not the only one unhappy. I could here several times “hushes” from the audience to quiet the others down. My unrest happened most when I felt others at unrest. The rudeness of others was impeding on everyone’s experiences to relax and escape into a 2 hour film. The babies at the movies that late at night, is unacceptable. The movie was about aliens invading the world. Loud noises. bright lights. scary sounds were evading their little ear drums making them cry out for their mothers. One of the mother’s had her baby sitting on the stair in the dark, asking to be tripped over or stepped on by another. It took everything in my power not to run to that child seat and bring that baby to the mother and tell her not to keep him on the stair for others to step on in the dark. It was strange to see so many people unaware of others at the same time. Talking loudly was a couple sitting next to me about their dinner, and not the movie. Please wait and know there is a time for everything. If you have a small child please think about how the crying will affect other’s experiences when you bring them to an adult movie. I know others can relate, this is not an alien story to many.

When we share a shared space as humans, we need to start to see them as having the same need as ourselves. So thoughts have to literally become like this:

“If I bought a ticket to see a movie and spent my hard earned cash, then others have too and I need to be respectful and quiet to ensure that they enjoy themselves just as much as I do.”

I know it may seem like a little thing, but empathy starts this way. It is a seed that grows into a global awareness of others that rushes forwards.

So next time you are in a public space with others, try to imagine what YOU would like to get out of the experience and treat others in this way. Maybe you don’t care about your own experience and are wasting time and money, but then you need to go even further outside yourself to create peace for others.

When we start to see each other in this way in the public spaces we share in our communities, this will start to extend outwards towards others NOT in our public space and we will in turn will come together against injustices and stand up for what is impeding on other’s experiences.

Please share this not as a scolding, but a reminding of the empathic creations we were created to be. I am not perfect and need this reminding too. We are not inherently selfish, this is a choice we make. We know this because acting in this way once we become aware does not feel good. Emotions are a thermometer for how our path is aligning towards truths or falsehoods.

Empathy1

 

Education in Religion: Seeing the Unity

I believe that God truly has tested humans to use our brains. We are not to read one book and close our minds off to others. It has helped me to see the unity by immersing myself in not just the Quran, but in many other spiritual books and religious texts. I took a quiz yesterday to see how much I knew about religion and I scored pretty high due to my study of it throughout the years. If you do not have knowledge about a certain religion, you should caution yourself to ever speak negatively openly about it in public. You may have your opinions, but without knowledge, they are just that and never facts. Go to the source of the religious texts to get the information about another religion besides your own. You do not have to believe in something in order to learn. If anything, it solidified my own path by reading what I didn’t agree with.

If interested in testing your knowledge about world religions from the pew research please go here:

http://www.pewforum.org/quiz/u-s-religious-knowledge/

This is some of the books that have helped me see and understand the Quran in an unifying and peaceful light:

Book2

 

books

If you want to recommend any other books to me that I may not have read (other books are not pictured here, but I will let you know if I have not read what you suggest), please leave a comment below.

Surah Ali-Imran: Chapter 3 (line 1-10) The Family of Iram

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

1. Alif, Lam, Meem.

2. God, there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal.

3. He sent down to you the Book with the Truth, confirming what came before it; and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.

4. Aforetime, as guidance for mankind; and He sent down the Criterion. Those who have rejected God’s signs will have a severe punishment. God is Mighty, Able to take revenge.

5. Nothing is hidden from God, on earth or in the heaven.

6. It is He who forms you in the wombs as He wills. There is no god except He, the Almighty, the Wise.

7. It is He who revealed to you the Book. Some of its verses are definitive; they are the foundation of the Book, and others are unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation, they follow the unspecific part, seeking dissent, and seeking to derive an interpretation. But none knows its interpretation except God and those firmly rooted in knowledge say, “We believe in it; all is from our Lord.” But none recollects except those with understanding.

8. “Our Lord, do not cause our hearts to swerve after You have guided us, and bestow on us mercy from Your presence; You are the Giver.”

9. “Our Lord, You will gather the people for a Day in which there is no doubt.” God will never break His promise.

10. As for those who disbelieve, neither their wealth nor their children will avail them anything against God. These will be fuel for the Fire.

My Interpretation: 

“Alif Lam Meem” is an opening chant of the heart and mind. Nobody really knows exactly what these three words are that are recorded in the Quran at the start of almost each sura, but it is said that this is when the Angel begins talking.

The Quran is the Book that is being given to Muhammad in order to support the original Torah and the Gospels. This is proof in our unity as believers.

This is almost like a prayer that Gabriel is showing Muhammad before more truth is revealed to him. God is one, as we are all one. Nothing is concealed to God and truth is always revealed. We are each created in the womb with particular purpose and reason, only God can fully know.

Line 7 is my favorite to express what has happened in religion. Religion in itself is not evil, but men with corruption in their hearts interpreted the books to do evil and to create problems on earth. Such examples can be seen in the Templar Crusades, Spanish Inquisition and Boko Haram. There are verses that are easy to understand such as “make a loan agreement, or don’t create a usury commerce, or give divorce women money”, but there are others that are a test to see HOW you decide to interpret the words that only God knows the true meaning. We must always refrain to fight and argue over vague ideas that only God can know. This could bring more peace to the world, if we remembered this and did as Muhammad was told to teach the people.

I always knew that the Gospel, Torah, and Quran, and many other books have all been part of a test to see who really does see the Good in God, and who is of the faithful. Only those who seek God, will understand these verses. You need a balance of a good heart, mind, and intuitive knowing to help you be a person of understanding. Without these three things, they will seem like just imaginary stories or false words, or worse evil books.

This is a prayer being told to Muhammad for the people to ask God to continue guidance and to help strengthen them against evil and temptation in all matters.

The disbelievers of these days in 600AD were corrupt. They didn’t want to loose their wealth, usury, and immoral way of life, so they decided to not believe in the messengers sent to them. Today’s disbelievers, we call atheists don’t necessarily have malice in their hearts, but their relationship and openness to God’s messages will be part of their test and trail in life. Only God can judge and we as believers can never know the height of someone’s spirituality. There is a grand spectrum, that someone can fit on, and so we can never know their private beliefs. But here is a reminder that God knows.

I call the path to God the Middle Way. It is the path that is not too religiously zealous to judge, or not to oblivious to believe in things not seen. The Middle Way is the path for those who know the messages of God, but don’t force them on others and remain kind even though the temptation to judge is there. Once again this is for God to do. Your goal is to learn how to love and treat everyone equally, and God will give each what they have earned in the End.

Middle Way