Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Being the CHANGE

Bringing about CHANGE is a process that goes beyond simply thinking or talking about it. Change comes about because we DO something to make it happen. The process starts off with thinking and talking about it - but unless action is taken change is not possible. Inaction can be both Satvic and Tamasic. The two inactions are very different in nature. Tamasic inaction comes from procrastination and laziness while Satvic inaction comes from a deep understanding of the so called mysteries of the Universe. This is the inaction that is not defined by 'no work', but by working silently, selflessly and without being attached to the goal. We must assign a goal post that we aim for but we must be flexible enough to recognize that the field of action is much larger than the goal.

I am learning this as I become more enmeshed with The Wisdom (www.thewisdom.in), an organization that is working to bring about change in the conditions of the poor in India. We are a very small organization in terms of the number of active members and yet what we are doing cannot be termed as small. In a country where 25% of people live below the poverty line it is a monumental task to bring even 0.1% of people above that line. It is also time consuming and requires the remaining 75% of Indians to be less self absorbed.

The challenge is not in serving the poor of our country - that is the easy part. The so called 'poor' may be financially so, but their openness to learn and do what it takes to climb up makes them the group with the most potential to enrich our nation. The real challenge is in taking away the fear of poverty from the minds of a large portion of the 75% of us who live above that poverty line. We have chosen to de-sensitize ourselves from the pain and suffering of those less fortunate than us. We do not realize that we are poorer than the poor when we begin to love money and possessions more than we love people! Service towards others opens up a window within us that helps us see beyond this need to possess things and build a large bank account.

As I view pictures of the children of The Opal Project of The Wisdom and see their bright faces and hear first hand accounts from people who have visited them during sessions in class it is well near impossible to say that these children are any different than my own. They portray the same dreams, fears and hopes! They have begun to see life as an opportunity rather than a problem - they have developed the strength to stand up and face challenges and the will to expect better for and of themselves. I realize that this has come about not only because of the class they attend with us - it has come about because through the little we have been able to do for them with the money raised from very generous donors we have succeeded in showing them their own potential and self worth. It has taken compassion and love from those of us who are working directly with them that has opened them up to better know themselves and the power within them. They work hard and diligently through their day to day struggles of being poor and they shine because of this perseverance.

What has been undertaken requires a lot of work and yet I know that underneath the visible work that goes into it is the invisible 'no'work' that is doing it all. The subtle pat on the back, the smile when looking at them, the disciplining when they make a mistake, the enquiry about their family, the handing down a shawl when they are cold - it is these that have made the biggest difference. It is that inherent passion within our founder Sukarna that is responsible for the change that The Wisdom can and will bring about.

Sukarna has a lot of passion and it is this passion that drives her. Passion cannot be tethered easily and so she can appear very aggressive at times. Her passion shows through every aspect of life. She likes with passion - she also dislikes with passion (cooking is an example I think I see of her dislikes!). She probably does not dislike cooking because of cooking itself - she dislikes it because she likes doing other things more and I can relate to that! She has shown me how love and compassion can bring about change and for that I bow down to her. She cries when she sees pain, then wipes her tears and stands tall all ready to assuage that pain. She is incapable of inherent unkindness but dislikes any hint of hypocrisy. Tell her what you feel with truth and she will not hold it against you even if she disagrees with you - but do not tell her one thing and do the opposite then our mother tiger will pounce! The Wisdom is her dream and she has successfully made it mine. I cannot be as passionate as her but I can definitely fan her passion and help the organization grow and flourish. Change is already happening and I can foresee quite a few families soon stepping above that line holding our hands as they do so. As they climb up and out these same families will help raise others in their community do the same and one family at a time we will prosper! That is our goal, but our work in the field is much bigger and an opportunity for us to fulfill our own purpose in life! Those who make the most of this opportunity to help others will be the true winners all around.

As our Republic Day (January 26th) arrives I want to say a heart felt thank you to Sukarna for being the CHANGE! Those of us who are working in close proximity with her can see this diamond in the rough causing kind ripples under the surface and I am certain that one day our dream of seeing India in full glory will become a reality. Our people will become more caring, more compassionate, more giving simply by watching what these qualities can do. More of us need to join in the process of bringing about change not by donating funds alone but by going out into the field and being selflessly caring, compassionate and giving and spreading Satvic Inaction.

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