There is good going on in the world. I witness it, feel it every day. Sitting on my desk right now is the World Ark catalog, a product of Heifer International. Heifer International is a global nonprofit working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based holistic community development with local farmers in 21 countries.
Heifer International feels like an old friend. My late wife loved Heifer and we visited their Rutland, MA farm years ago before it closed. It was a farm divided up into countries around the world and each country had animals indigenous to it. I saw a yak from Tibet which I remember the most. And of course all the other goats and sheep, pigs, poultry, cattle, buffalo. It was a magnificent display of living gifts from each part of the world. The farm had young international volunteers, both men and women, learning how to raise the animals for future gifts to families in need.
Heifer became a talisman for me after her death in 2006. In lieu of flowers at her celebration of life, I asked for donations to Heifer. Flocks of chicks were donated to families in Guatemala. A calf was purchased for a family in Malawi. Notifications of donations came in for a goat going to a family in India and a sheep for a family in Ecuador. The list went on and on, and each donation lifted my heart.
When I think about the effort it takes to coordinate a worldwide organization designed to foster holistic community development aiding families around the globe, it is a staggering thought. Behind every page in the catalog is a story of someone’s drive and inspiration to keep going. People have a power for good. People can use energy and focus to make change in the world that can reach international proportions and make a difference.
In the words of Davidji who is a spiritual teacher, author, wellness expert and meditation teacher, attention and intention are two qualities that can be confused as the same thing but are completely different processes.
“Where attention goes energy flows.”
“What you place your intention on blossoms and blooms.”
“When you withdraw your attention, energy withers and dies.”
“My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.”
“You are right in your assessments. ... Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.”
“As we have learned often from Thich Nhat Hanh, a good practitioner is not someone who never feels despair, fear, anxiety, or overwhelm. A good practitioner is someone who knows how to take care of all of these feelings when they arise. And our practice has prepared us, is preparing us, in each breath, in each step, to meet the suffering and challenges of this moment in history.”
“When we are grounded in the basic practice, our mind still and calm in the present moment, we see the truth behind the story of separation. We see that no person is our enemy, no person need be eliminated. Only ignorance and hatred need to be transformed in our own hearts and minds, and in the collective consciousness.”