Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Radiating Photons of Goodwill

--by Marc Ian Barasch (Jul 20, 2009)


Every now and then, I'll meet an escapee, someone who has broken free of self-centeredness and lit out for the territory of compassion. You've met them, too, those people who seem to emit a steady stream of, for want of a better word, love-vibes. As soon as you come within range, you feel embraced, accepted for who you are. For those of us who suspect that you rarely get something for nothing, such geniality can be discomfiting. Yet it feels so good to be around them. They stand there, radiating photons of goodwill, and despite yourself you beam back, and the world, in a twinkling, changes.

I appreciate these compassion-mongers, even marvel at them. But I’ve rarely thought that I could be one of them. Sure, I’ve tried to live a benign life, putting my shoulder to the wheel for peace, justice, and Mother Earth. Like most people, I adore my off spring, even when they drive me crazy; love my parents, despite the corkscrew of childhood; dote on my siblings (though there is that scrapbook of old slights); and treasure my friends (even if they sometimes let me down). Conventional wisdom wouldn't fault me for saving the best stuff for my nearest and dearest and giving the rest of humanity the left overs.

Thus it is, say the sages, that the harvest of kindness -- of kindredness --
is winnowed down to a precious few grains. For at the center of all spiritual traditions is the beacon of a truly radical proposal: Open your heart to everybody. Everybody.

Is this even possible?

Nelson Mandela once remarked that he befriended his jailers, those grim, khaki-clad overseers of his decades of hard labor in a limestone quarry, by "exploiting their good qualities." Asked if he believed all people were kind at their core, he responded, "There is no doubt whatsoever, provided you are able to arouse their inherent goodness." If that sounds like wishful thinking, well, he actually did it.

--Marc Ian Barasch, in The Compassionate Life


Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

10 Previous Reflections:

 
On Jul 23, 2009 Patsy wrote:

SK's post brings up a good point about the difficulty of achieving this kind of unabashed love. I mean, how can you possibly believe in the goodness of humans when you have seen so much fear, selfishness, anger, and cruelty? Overcoming selfishness and letting your guard down is the only path to unabashed love-giving. Freely baring you heart and mind, opening the door to your conciousness, is the only way for the love to flow forth from your beautiful soul to the world. So how? What can give me the courage to take that chance? The only way I can look forth to each future moment with absolutely no plans to protect myself from the possiblility of harm from others and to love completely is to see each future moment with God in it. I must trust with full surety that the Great Creator Spirit has formed this physical and spiritual existance in such a way that my complete surrender will bring about my best possible outcome. I must trust that no matter how much I give awa  See full.

SK's post brings up a good point about the difficulty of achieving this kind of unabashed love. I mean, how can you possibly believe in the goodness of humans when you have seen so much fear, selfishness, anger, and cruelty?

Overcoming selfishness and letting your guard down is the only path to unabashed love-giving. Freely baring you heart and mind, opening the door to your conciousness, is the only way for the love to flow forth from your beautiful soul to the world.

So how? What can give me the courage to take that chance?

The only way I can look forth to each future moment with absolutely no plans to protect myself from the possiblility of harm from others and to love completely is to see each future moment with God in it. I must trust with full surety that the Great Creator Spirit has formed this physical and spiritual existance in such a way that my complete surrender will bring about my best possible outcome. I must trust that no matter how much I give away, Great Spirit will fill me with ever more to give. I must trust that even when my openess is met with cruelty, great good has still been achieved, both through me and for me.

I must see that the only way to fly is to jump out of the nest and risk falling; then believe, trust, jump, maybe fall for a space, and then soar.

Hide full comment.

On Jul 22, 2009 SK wrote:

One of the essential characteristics of a compassion-monger based on this write-up is not not to be self-centered or centered around family/friends, but open your heart 'equally' to everybody. Based on this, I have come across very few people who are compassion-mongers, and I certainly am not one. It find it easier to be a nice and compassionate person, but being a compassion-monger as defined in the write-up is difficult and demands a high level of self awareness. Whether everyone has a core of kindness is impossible to answer reliably. Even if we assume that this is true, it will be an incomplete truth. The complete truth is that everyone has a potential for kindness and cruelty; the combination of innate and environmental factors determines what combination of these two qualities are reflected in actions for each individual. Nevertheless the ideas expressed in the thought are worth striving for. It is these reminders which will eventually sway the pen  See full.

One of the essential characteristics of a compassion-monger based on this write-up is not not to be self-centered or centered around family/friends, but open your heart 'equally' to everybody. Based on this, I have come across very few people who are compassion-mongers, and I certainly am not one. It find it easier to be a nice and compassionate person, but being a compassion-monger as defined in the write-up is difficult and demands a high level of self awareness.

Whether everyone has a core of kindness is impossible to answer reliably. Even if we assume that this is true, it will be an incomplete truth. The complete truth is that everyone has a potential for kindness and cruelty; the combination of innate and environmental factors determines what combination of these two qualities are reflected in actions for each individual.

Nevertheless the ideas expressed in the thought are worth striving for. It is these reminders which will eventually sway the pendulum away from self-centered outlook. Loved the Generous Photon poem.

Hide full comment.

On Jul 22, 2009 Brinda wrote:

Wow.....what a profound comment and I just love all of your reflections (esp. Pancho's poem--thanks!). It seems to me that when we can look beyond the surface of characters to see the universality in all beings we come closer to seeing everyone's "light". It is not always easy. We always know in our hearts when we are in the presence of a "compassion monger", but striving to be one is an amazing journey.



On Jul 22, 2009 Pancho Ramos-Stierle wrote:

A poem that flowed through me on Friday... and the Universe of Love conspiring with us! The Generous Photon How do you thank the persistent photon whose 150-million-kilometer pilgrimage, in the middle of the winter, ended up in your skin with a warm kiss? Or the historic ones who traveled 5 times that distance and more, during the obscurantism show, to illuminate those glorious moons that brought Humanity's Renaissance four centuries ago?   Have you ever welcomed, with the windows of your soul, those pieces of light who have bounced off from the rings of Saturn? What did you say? What did you feel? What is your almighty role?   Have you assimilated, my angel, that letter of love from the Universe describing a brave photon from Andromeda, who left his home in a poetic verse, 2.5 million years ago, and traveled for trillions of dark miles with the only purpose to greet your fascinating eyes immersed in astonishment with the Magnificent Divine? Thus,  See full.

A poem that flowed through me on Friday... and the Universe of Love conspiring with us!

The Generous Photon
How do you thank the persistent photon whose 150-million-kilometer pilgrimage,
in the middle of the winter,
ended up in your skin with a warm kiss?

Or the historic ones who traveled 5 times that distance and more,
during the obscurantism show,
to illuminate those glorious moons
that brought Humanity's Renaissance four centuries ago?
 
Have you ever welcomed, with the windows of your soul,
those pieces of light who have bounced off from the rings of Saturn?
What did you say? What did you feel? What is your almighty role?
 
Have you assimilated, my angel,
that letter of love from the Universe
describing a brave photon from Andromeda,
who left his home in a poetic verse,
2.5 million years ago,
and traveled for trillions of dark miles
with the only purpose
to greet your fascinating eyes
immersed in astonishment with the Magnificent Divine?

Thus, Beloved One, your millions of tenacious photons of love and courage
permeate every corner of this planet.
It is their unstoppable loadstone task,
to reach your charming beating magnet,
and more sooner than later, those photons of The Great Turning
will merge with your servant heart, my darling.

Even if it is just one, wouldn't you be grateful?

The existence of a photon satyagrahi,  
dispel darkness and brings light.
She says to my ear:
"Light is my nature... what else but light could there be in me?"
For she to be, means to shine.
Giving light is natural for a star. So what's your star my dear?

Then is when I realized that a photon lives in community too.
Individual photons, from the same source, become ONE wave, not we, not two.
A quantum mystery for your continuous divine path.

It is our collective co-creation of magical light,
a chain of generous photons
moving in stillness at the speed of love
producing smiles.

Hide full comment.

On Jul 21, 2009 Avantika wrote:

What a profound reading.Makes us keep working at extending our gifts,empathy, and if not anything else- a listening ear or a silent blesssing, towards everyone we cross paths with.



On Jul 21, 2009 meg wrote:

 We are images of God! we all have the potential to emanate light, goodness, Love... it's just that sometimes we get trapped in the physical, material world that blinds us and doesn't allow us to see and experience the spiritual part which is what we really are, spiritual beings with a temporary humanness..



On Jul 21, 2009 Conrad wrote:

Thanks much. This is so great I sent it to twelve people.  You have my gratitude.

 



On Jul 21, 2009 terry wrote:

I have learned to praise the Creator in each and everyone.  I do believe everyone is redeemable, good at their core- perhaps it is just that they have forgotten or have never known love without strings.  Compassion is the key, kindness the ointment- love without rules, religion or comfort zones.  How could anyone truly know God if it weren't through our reaching out and loving them- we are his hands, his heart, his touch.  I praise God by praising my brothers and my sisters.

  "Above all, love one another."  Brother Jesus's blanket rule. 

To see beauty in the ugly faces is the hardest thing I do- but to look upon hate, despair, sadness and sorrow and reflect to the wearer of those masks a goodness, true beauty- it is though a light, a beaming light has been finally turned on in the darkest room.  Love never fails, love wins.  Period.

Take care-



On Jul 20, 2009 Liz, iJourney Audio Editor wrote:

I shared this piece with my husband.  He then said to me, “Sweetie, that is who you are.”  Funny -- I showed it to him because I thought it described who he is.  No matter where we go, I see him befriend and embrace perfect strangers and leave them humored, warmed, and ultimately, “changed.”  I want to be like him, like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, a compassion monger.  So I work at it.  I awake each day with this goal in mind:  to embrace my husband, children, the grocer, the banker, even strangers in line with me.  Daily, I pray for G-d to remove from me every single character defect that would prevent me from radiating the goodness He put me here to spread.   I then ask that He fill me with what I need to do His will.  It is only through daily prayer, diligent work, learning and spiritual study that I can go out and hope to embrace every life I touch.  Every single life.  See full.

I shared this piece with my husband.  He then said to me, “Sweetie, that is who you are.”  Funny -- I showed it to him because I thought it described who he is.  No matter where we go, I see him befriend and embrace perfect strangers and leave them humored, warmed, and ultimately, “changed.”  I want to be like him, like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, a compassion monger.  So I work at it.  I awake each day with this goal in mind:  to embrace my husband, children, the grocer, the banker, even strangers in line with me.  Daily, I pray for G-d to remove from me every single character defect that would prevent me from radiating the goodness He put me here to spread.   I then ask that He fill me with what I need to do His will.  It is only through daily prayer, diligent work, learning and spiritual study that I can go out and hope to embrace every life I touch.  Every single life.

Hide full comment.

On Jul 20, 2009 Prasad, iJourney Visual Editor wrote:

Reflecting on the passage of Marc Barasch, I remembered the time I spent last night with the son of IIM Kozhikode director in their house. Siddharth is about 10 years old and is affectionate, friendly and smart boy who has real gift for listening to accents and languages. He and his parents came to Kozhikode from Singapore and getting adjusted to northern Kerala weather, schools, culture and people. He is one of those people who seem to be sending love vibes as Marc calls them. He completely un-self conscious, charming and was very comfortable to stay with his parents and us instead of going with his sister and my daughter to chat in some other room. The entire time he was sitting next to me, I felt I was in an altered state — as if he was embracing and accepting who I am and as if he is related to me from before.  He is truly a compassion monger and seems to bring out the best in others wherever he is. He is not the only one I met who harvests kindness and spreads kindredn  See full.

Reflecting on the passage of Marc Barasch, I remembered the time I spent last night with the son of IIM Kozhikode director in their house. Siddharth is about 10 years old and is affectionate, friendly and smart boy who has real gift for listening to accents and languages. He and his parents came to Kozhikode from Singapore and getting adjusted to northern Kerala weather, schools, culture and people. He is one of those people who seem to be sending love vibes as Marc calls them. He completely un-self conscious, charming and was very comfortable to stay with his parents and us instead of going with his sister and my daughter to chat in some other room. The entire time he was sitting next to me, I felt I was in an altered state — as if he was embracing and accepting who I am and as if he is related to me from before.  He is truly a compassion monger and seems to bring out the best in others wherever he is.
He is not the only one I met who harvests kindness and spreads kindredness — the attendant in the guest house that I am staying in is another sage. He is so open hearted and caring towards us though he never met us before. It is as if my mother — I know the gender does not match but the love and open heart of my mother is what I experienced — was serving me and caring for me.

As I reflect, I realize that these compassion mongers or sages of goodwill are all around us. We have to just open our eyes and hearts to allow them to touch us, move us and inspire us. When we do, we go away with our hearts opened a bit more and spreading compassion a little wider than we would otherwise have.

Is it just me or you have similar experiences? Do you recall times when you started radiating photons of goodwill unconsciously because you got irradiated yourself?  
 

Hide full comment.