Monday's Interfaith conference on the topic of humanitarianism gave me much food for thought. I was really struck by the idea that, while we often focus on the elimination of poverty, if we really thought about the idea of eliminating extremes of poverty AND wealth, what a difference that would make.
Three days in a group reading and discussing materials on Humanity's Coming of Age and the Promise of World Peace tied together biblical prophecies, Abdu'l-Baha's explanation of how they relate to some the principles of the Baha'i Faith, and traced our development to where we are now.
Three evenings of meditation and an introduction to the Endorphin Effect led me to a better understanding of (among other things) how my recent "100 Happy Days" project led to such an increase in wellbeing, not just for me, but apparently for some others who were following along. It seems that when we have a pleasurable experience, if we Notice it, Pause, and Absorb the experience, we produce endorphins (feel-good hormones), and we prime ourselves to be able to produce them again at a later time, just by recalling the same experience. Fascinating introduction to the work of William Bloom.
An evening reflecting on Creativity and the deep blue ocean from which it emerges.
All of that - and a workshop over the final two days in which I got the opportunity to consider my own part in the business of community-building going on all around me - but the overall effect of the 9 days came from simply being among people of like mind and heart; from sitting in on concerts and witnessing the most wonderful talent in young people, sharing laughter; comparing experiences, encountering new friends from 3-year-olds with some fascinating news to share to visitors from around the world met at mealtimes and encountered as sister- and brother-souls, to dancing at that final-night blowout, filled with awareness of just how blessed I am, just how fortunate I am, and knowing that I'll never really be able to express it in even the smallest measure.
I was aware, in the course of the week, of people I wished were there, of missing those who couldn't be there for various reasons, and also I was aware of the spirit being generated there going out into the world, the prayers being said being carried out to all of them. Last year, I could not be there. This year, my appreciation of the gift of being there was surely heightened by that fact.
Next year.... next year.... next year Inshallah