While winter is meant to be the season for slowing down and directing our focus inward, there's been too much happening all around us this month for such calm reflection, I'd suggest.
With so many demands on our energy and sense of wellbeing, both local and global, all we can really do is stay centred and focus on the positives. And there are so many of them.
I've spent a delightful half hour or so ticking off some of the really nice thoughts, messages and actions that have come my way in the last few weeks. There was the email out of the blue from a regular Perth reader telling us she loves the way we weave a theme through each issue, something she's been meaning to tell us for years (thank you Katie), the letter from a first time author thanking me for my interest and hoping I would find something personally uplifting in her book, the 20 tickets offered to our Perth readers for the Dalai Lama's Conversation recently and their joy in receiving such a gift, the supportive comments offered on Dr Peter Dingle's blog by people who feel he has been victimised simply because he defies conventional medical wisdom, the embrace of our magazine by all those readers who came by our stand at the Melbourne MBS in June, our spiritual traveller Jeremy Ball's act in lighting butter lamps in Tibet for me and my husband. It's all unsolicited and spontaneous - examples of those "random acts of kindness" we're encouraged to practise. And of course, such thoughtfulness breeds more of the same.
Even the most sceptical among us must now accept that our world is undergoing a great transformation, with all the fear and uncertainty that entails, along with the exhilaration of the unknown. Despite our brave front, change of such magnitude is catching us by surprise and I suspect we'd all like it to settle down a bit and let us, poor plodding humans, catch up.
In truth, the speed of change is probably exponential and the calm, settled, familiar territory we yearn for is to be found only within each one of us. And the person to show us how to cultivate that nurturing centre is His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I urge you to read Jae Twyman Mills's account called "Buddha Peace" of his bodhisattva teachings held in June in Melbourne. A bodhisattva, by the way, is a person who has delayed enlightenment just to help us mere mortals as we stumble along the same path. The revered goddess Kwan Yin is perhaps the world's most loved bodhisattva.
There are other great teachers to guide us towards a higher consciousness, when we consider others as much as ourselves, when we begin to at least think of walking in their shoes.
The divisiveness of politics, the shrill demands of vested interests of all sorts, the inherent xenophobia of so much media is all just chaff blowing in the wind. And we are our own teachers, too. Our mastery of such discordant voices begins the day we each realise we have the power within us to bring about, as Mahatma Gandhi said so perceptively decades ago, "the change we wish to see in the world".
It's up to us and we hope this issue guides you a little further along that path.
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