The speakers and rituals centered on Cultivating Compassion. We can cultivate compassion through listening, practicing mindfulness, recognizing the interrelatedness of the whole of life, daring to heal the rifts that divide us. In our hurried, fragmented world we need the gift of compassion desperately.
The conference plenary sessions were led by John Phillip Newell. Our very own Rabbi Amy Eilberg was the conference spiritual director. Rabbi Amy paused with us to savor and break open Newellʼs picturesque words and story-filled wisdom.
Relationship, harmony, and love are the yearnings of the universe, as well as universal longings present in all of creation. We are all interconnected, interwoven, interdependent. The actions and reactions of each of us ripple well beyond what we imagine to be our limited sphere of influence. We are becoming aware of the interconnectedness of the universe. A new consciousness is breaking through many fields of study, including physics, biology, psychology, cosmology, and theology.
We must have the courage to see our interrelatedness even in the midst of the fragmentation that dominates so much of our world. This fragmentation is driven by: fundamentalism, which defines truth in hard-edged terms; the enormous changes we are experiencing; and a world view that sees the sacred as separate from creation.
We must have the courage to feel the pain that is a part of life. We must recover songs of lament, to feel the brokenness that is a part of life. Life is shrouded in pain. We cannot hide from it. We must name the falseness of which we have been a part.
We must have the courage to act. We must not give up hope. Hope and action belong together. The future has not been decided. We can be a part of that future. We pretend that we can love God and not the earth or each other.
To call upon this courage, we must have a spaciousness to our lives, a place of calm from which to see, to feel, to move into action.