left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: Compassion is a choice!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

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Compassion is a choice!

Earlier this year I was fortunate to meet Azim Khamisa, founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation. He shared a remarkable story in Podcast # 29 on how he made the journey from murder to forgiveness.

My wife Jessica and I subsequently attended one of the TKF assemblies at the Dana Middle School in San Diego. It was an incredible experience to witness how a group of 6th graders responded to the message of non-violence that Azim and his co-founder Ples Felix brought to them.

The more I get to know this man the more impressed I am by him. The following is an article he recently wrote that I wanted to share with you. In it he talks about the power of choice.

A very good friend of mine graced me with an insight from his Holiness the Dalai Lama: "True compassion is not just an emotional response but also a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively."

In my journey over the last 12 years since my son Tariq was so tragically taken away from us, I have learned in a very deep way the truth contained in the above insight. I talk about this in more detail in my upcoming book "From Forgiveness to Fulfillment - A Father's Journey" scheduled to come out this fall. In writing my second book (a sequel to "From Murder to Forgiveness - a Father's Journey"), I have looked deeply in my heart and have learned that the work that I have done with forgiveness in Tariq's name has shifted me to become a person who - for the most part - is now able to live at the higher vibratory frequencies of love, unity, compassion, forgiveness and peace.

This is particularly true in the work I do with the youth. In April of this year I spoke before 60 wards at the San Leandro Juvenile Prison, and was later asked if I would do the same for 20 more kids who were held in a maximum-security unit. I said that I would love to do that and - after going through a half a dozen locked doors - I interacted with the kids for about an hour and a half.

It was one of the most powerful experiences in my life. One young man, probably about 19 years old, told me towards the end of the presentation:

"You don't look at us as if we are criminals."

I walked up to him; we locked eyes, and from deep down in my heart I said, "When I look in your eyes what I see is another soul just like me."

There was a huge connection as both our eyes moistened with tears. I felt like a lightning bolt spark exchanged between our two souls as he responded, "That is what I am talking about." This lightning bolt energy also seemed to connect everyone in the room. At the end of my talk, the young man asked if he could offer a closing prayer, and I told him I would love for him to do that and suggested we hold hands and form a circle. In his closing prayer he mostly prayed for Tariq, which brought tears of healing to my eyes and joy to my heart. This work is such a gift, and I know that he and the others transformed in their own ways that day. I have held this young man and others I met that day in my prayers.

The quote from the Dalai Lama noted how compassion is a commitment, a choice. And when we choose to live in that space we are then able to create transformation in our lives and the lives of others. If we live in resentment, anger, hatred, avarice, jealousy and judgment, we vibrate at a very low frequency and attract more of the same. Now is the time to make a firm commitment to continually live in love, compassion and unity, and vibrate at the higher frequencies where we can experience fulfillment in our lives and create transformation for not only ourselves but for others. The choice is ours.

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