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"THE VELVET WAY" 
 
   

 

THE VELVET WAY

A Global Wisdom Plan for

A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL

 

CONTENTS:

 

INTRODUCTION .. 1

Inventing The Future: 1

The Velvet Way . 1

The Four Phases: 1

Why a 75 Year Plan? . 1

A Way for Our Times . 2

The Apollo Vision . 2

 

The Five Goals of the Velvet Way . 2

 

GOAL ONE:  A WORLD BEYOND WAR AND TERROR .. 4

Isolating the Perpetrators Of Violence . 4

Renouncing Violence . 4

De-Fusing The Next Wave . 4

Stop Creating the Monsters of the Future . 4

Developing Citizen Understanding . 5

Citizen Wisdom: 5

Citizen Foreign Policy: 6

Citizen Engagement: 6

Citizen Leadership: 6

 

GOAL TWO:  A WORLD SAFE FOR ALL CHILDREN .. 7

A Goal for Humanity . 7

No Child At Risk: 7

 

GOAL THREE: GETTING IN STEP WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD .. 8

Getting in Step Politically: 8

Getting in Step Ecologically: 9

Getting in Step Culturally: 9

Getting in Step Consciously . 9

Getting in Step Spiritually . 9

 

GOAL FOUR: COMMON VALUES FOR A COMMON SOCIETY . 10

Values and Paradox: 10

 

GOAL FIVE:  TRUTH, RECONCILIATION, ATONEMENT AND FORGIVENESS .. 10

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Inventing The Future:

From the outset, “predicting” our future is a hopeless, even a ridiculous task.  We don’t know what will happen next month, let alone a century into our future.   No one predicted the collapse of the Berlin Wall.   No one, not even the perpetrators, predicted the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.  No one knows what will happen tomorrow.

 

Although we cannot predict the future, we CAN     invent it.  Every invention started with a thought.  Every new system started out as an improvement or enhancement of an existing system.   Every social system started out in the desire to make life better.

 

If we default in our opportunity to invent our future, the globalized world of the 21st Century will be envisioned by those who are unfit to lead it.  That must change.  We are the leaders.

 

Many have said that the world will be changed through a transformation of consciousness.  We agree.  What follows is our view of a few of the essential, specific shifts in consciousness necessary to trigger a profound and sustainable transformation to a global wisdom society.   We hope that The Velvet Way strikes a chord with you, or at least stimulates you to design a world that works for all.
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The Velvet Way

We call this effort The Velvet Way, in honor of the people who created the most profound revolution to affect Europe in the 20 th Century – without firing a shot.   In 1989, millions of Czechoslovakian citizens, armed with nothing but candles, faced down the military might of the Soviet Union and ushered in new political, social and economic structures.

 

In the past, political and social change has been associated with war and violence.  Chairman Mao claimed that political power stems from the barrel of a gun.   We renounce that kind of power.  We have no armies; we don’t want any and don’t need any.   This is a revolution of consciousness.
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The Four Phases:

We see the next 100 years in four overlapping phases.  

 

The Period of Ambiguity

The Period of Paradox

The Period of Transition

The Period of Emergence

 

Depending on our consciousness, we will meet the challenges of each phase with a number of strategies.   Those with a Traditionalist/Breaker consciousness will attempt to lead us back to the “good ole days”.  Those with an Emergent/Mender consciousness will attempt to lead us forward into a world that works for all.

 

The future belongs to those who invent it.
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Why a 75-Year Plan?

Although the impetus for writing the Velvet Way was the events of September 11th, the scope of the Plan is the next 50 -100 years.  The conditions that created our presently terrorized and suicidal world did not start with a single incident, and will not end with an incident, military or otherwise.

 

Our search for quick and easy fixes creates the next wave of trouble.  The Velvet Way helps us focus on the magnitude of the problem, and focus on the long view of solutions.

 

75 years is roughly 3 generations.   It’s also about the time it takes a date tree to bear fruit.   Like those who plant date trees, those of us who will embark on The Velvet Way will not reap the fruit.  This is a tree we plant for our children and grandchildren.   In a society that wants to see instant results, The Velvet Way is a reminder that  –sometimes –-sweet things take time.  It should also remind us that our children and our grandchildren must be the real beneficiaries of our present actions.

 

75 years from now, our children, people who may have no direct memory of the tragic events of 11 September, will govern our world.   But, if we act now, those people and everyone on Earth, will be the beneficiaries of our present actions.
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A Way for Our Times

In times of great stress, humans have a tendency to fall back to their basest fears and lowest values.   When we are hurt, we want to hurt back – even though we know that by lashing back, we are making things worse.

 

Times of great stress are also times of great opportunity.   It is only by thinking realistically about our position that we can find opportunity and vision amidst the pain and chaos.

 

In times of great stress and in times of great vision, we as a nation have mobilized our resources to achieve the seemingly impossible.   We are now in a time of great stress, and the potential for high vision.  In response to September 11th, we must create a world where such events are unthinkable.   We must create a world that works for all.   This is the Velvet Way.
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The Apollo Vision

Our last coherent national project was landing humans on the Moon, a ten-year project that culminated in Neil Armstrong’s walk on the Moon.  In order to achieve the Apollo project, we had to mobilize our nation’s resources, both human and technological. 

 

When the Apollo astronauts went to the Moon, it was the first time humans turned around and looked at the home nest.   The image of our brilliant blue Earth floating in the black sky evokes strong emotions for many of us.  Earth, a planet floating in the inky blackness of space, showing no divisions, no distinctions, no differences.  From the distance of another planet, it is easy to comprehend the Apollo Vision:  we have differences, but they are not significant enough to cause us to kill each other.

 

It is obvious that our political institutions have not caught up with the Apollo Vision.  Yet.
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The Five Goals of the Velvet Way

Our goal is to create a new society, a world that works for all beings.  We are given an opportunity now to change directions.

 

1.     A World Beyond War and Terror

Our ultimate security lies in creating a world where no one gains from harming another.  A world where there are no terrorist groups or terrorist governments.   A world where violence is no longer a tool of domestic or foreign policy.  A world no longer dominated by anger and violence.  A world that works for all. 

 

2.     A World Safe for All Children

The entire world can have a common goal: creating a world that is safe for all children.   The common element we all have as humans is our compassion for our children. 

 

3.     Getting in Step with the Rest of the World

America must stop acting like it is apart from and above the rest of the world.   This attitude of superiority, arrogance and ignorance breeds resentment, hostility and anger – the breeding ground of the suicide bomber.

 

4.     Common Values for a Common Society

America can be the moral and spiritual “superpower” of the world.  However, in order to achieve this, our values must be in line with our actions.  

 

5.     Truth, Atonement, Forgiveness and Reconciliation

America can create a climate of reconciliation, both internally and among peoples and nations.
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GOAL ONE:  A WORLD BEYOND WAR AND TERROR

 

Our ultimate security lies in creating a world where no one gains from harming another.  A world where there are no terrorist groups or terrorist governments [1] .  A world where violence is no longer a tool of domestic or foreign policy.  A world no longer dominated by anger and violence.   A world that works for all. 

 

Our security lies in our relationships.

Isolating the Perpetrators Of Violence

We must make sure that the people who plan and/or execute terrorist attacks (and are planning the next waves) are never, ever in a position carry out their attacks.

 

This means identifying and finding the real perpetrators, apprehending them, then trying them in competent courts with competent evidence.   Perpetrators of state-sponsored terrorism must be removed from positions of power.

 

This does NOT mean creating witch-hunts or international lynch mobs.  This does NOT mean declaring “war” on an unknown enemy.  The response must not add to the problem.  
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Renouncing Violence

Asking “the Other” to renounce violence means that we have to renounce violence – first.  We must teach this to our children.  We must renounce the use of violence as a means of achieving our domestic and foreign policies. This is actually easy, since there are no foreign powers that threaten the United States, now or in the foreseeable future.   This is a perfect time to put the resources of war and violence into building a peaceful, secure, prosperous and sustainable world.  [return to top]

De-Fusing The Next Wave

We must effectively defuse and demobilize any other suicide bombers and attackers.   Instead of an ineffective “missile defense shield”, we need a “suicide bomber defense shield”. 

 

The bombing in Afghanistan has aggravated the anger, frustration and powerlessness that will fuel the next wave of suicide attackers.   Instead of making bad matters worse, we must work in ways that will create less anger and more understanding and connection.

 

In order to de-fuse the suicide attacker, we must understand the mind of the suicide attacker.   In order to understand the mind of “the Other”, we must understand our own mind.  The seeds of the terrorist lies within each of us.

 

There is NO WAY to stop a determined, coordinated suicide bomber.   The only thing that can be done is to de-fuse the bomber by taking away his or her cause.  We must replace “a cause to die for” with “a reason to live for”.  [return to top]

Stop Creating the Monsters of the Future

The US must end all practices, done in the name of the American people, that create, nurture and support criminals, terrorists and social monsters in the first place. 

 

This means ending shortsighted policies like those that funded or otherwise supported the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and many others, both domestically and internationally.   At present, the US government is covertly funding a number of “liberation” groups, including the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.   Up until September 11th, we gave funds to the Taliban.   Will we have to fight the Northern Alliance as “evil terrorists” ten years from now?

 

We can and should support all those who are in line with our deepest values and clearest principles.   We should NOT support those who are not in line with those values.  [return to top]

Developing Citizen Understanding

Because the threat is human, our “terrorist defense shield” must be human also.  We cannot rely on high-tech means to respond to low-tech threats.   Once we penetrate the minds and hearts of the suicide attacker, we can then determine what it will take to deflect them from their chosen course and transform them from sociopaths to productive human beings, from enemies to friends.

 

This is much easier than it sounds.   The suicide attacker feels driven to despair, precisely because they do not feel that they have been heard.   So, the first step to de-fusing the suicide attacker is to listen to what they are already saying.

 

What drives a suicide bomber?   In general, they are:

1.       Very angry;

2.       Feel unheard – that their beliefs, perspectives or reality has not been considered or respected.

3.       Feel powerless without resort to violence;

4.       Feel that they are under attack and have to fight back;

5.       Feel that they have nothing to lose and are therefore committed to a “lose-lose” scenario.

 

How we listen is important.   If we assume that they are “crazy fanatics”, we cannot really hear what they are saying to us.  In order to penetrate the mind of the suicide bomber, we have to apply the 12 steps of connecting with “the Other”, as described in “Creating a World That Works for All” (adapted from “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche) [2] .  
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Citizen Wisdom:

Intelligence is knowledge about things and events.   Wisdom is knowledge about relationships.   An example:  intelligence is knowing how to make an atomic bomb; wisdom is knowing not to use it.   In the US, we rely on the government to build and create relationships – with other countries, with our fellow citizens, sometimes even with ourselves.   We rely on commercial media to express those relationships.   If the media doesn’t recognize us, we feel unheard.

 

With citizen wisdom, each of us recognizes that we are inextricably linked to all others.  We see that we are responsible for our relationships – not lawyers, not the media, not government.

 

We have to gather our own information about others.   Americans travel to every corner of the globe, including those places (like North Korea and Cuba) where we are told not to go.   We have to see our travels not just as personal jaunts, but also as information collection for our society.   We also must find ways to disseminate that information once collected.  [return to top]

Citizen Foreign Policy:

For some reason, the American government forbids travel to the island of Cuba.  Every year, 60,000 Americans violate that restriction, conducting their own form of foreign policy (while sunbathing).  In this way, the people of Cuba understand that there is a difference between the US people and the policies of the US government.   And, we travelers discover the same thing is true about the Cuban people and the Cuban government.

 

Instead of depending solely on government foreign policy, we can begin to encourage Citizen Foreign Policy.   Many people do this already.  More people could join the effort and enlarge an active Citizen Foreign Policy community.  [return to top]

Citizen Engagement:

By talking to the people of the world (and the people of our neighborhood), we form bonds of community that can survive the stresses of our lives.

 

We can encourage all travelers to practice conscious citizen engagement.  Citizen engagement means learning to listen to others, and learning to speak authentically, not from narrow slogans but from the depth of our hearts.   [return to top]

Citizen Leadership:

It is increasingly obvious that the interests of people diverge from the interests of the governments that claim to represent them.   We have all heard the saying, “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.”  Our goal is to encourage the people to lead.

 

We must create mechanisms and institutions where people can have dialogs with meaning and power.  More than talk radio, polls and voting in pre-determined beauty contests called elections.  These dialogs of power will help encourage citizen involvement and will train the next wave of leaders.  [return to top]


GOAL TWO:  A WORLD SAFE FOR ALL CHILDREN

The entire world can have a common goal: creating a world that is safe for all children.   The common element we all have as humans is our compassion for our children. 

A Goal for Humanity

While some of us may wish pain and suffering on our worst enemy- none of us would wish this on our children.   All of the peoples and cultures of the world have this in common.   Concern and compassion for children transcends religion, culture and even socioeconomic class.  This goal invites parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to focus on the children in their lives and the children of their families still to come.   The experience of children is one of the few common human threads.   This is what can bring us together.   We must look to the children as guides, teachers and role models.   We must realize that the children are the future terrorists or peacemakers, whatever we encourage them to be.  They are the ones who will have to maintain a world that works for all.

 

In order to create a world that works for all, we must make sacrifices.   Universally, adults express willingness to sacrifice for our children.   [return to top]

No Child At Risk:

We have the ability to provide basic, adequate and culturally appropriate caring for every child on Earth.   Right now.  Basic caring means basic food, health care, shelter, clothing and education.  

 

We lack the means to distribute that caring.   And, more fundamentally, we lack the consciousness, the STORY, upon which to build a system of global caring.   We have the story that can land men on the Moon and build international space stations, but lack a story that can care for the world’s children.   We can change that.  Now.  [return to top]


GOAL THREE: GETTING IN STEP WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD

America must stop acting like it is apart from and above the rest of the world.   This attitude of superiority, arrogance and ignorance breeds resentment, hostility and anger – the breeding ground of the suicide bomber.

Getting in Step Politically:

Materially, America IS the richest country in the world.   We can demonstrate that fact by either:

1.       Hoarding and multiplying our wealth, while beating everyone over the head with “America’s Number One” slogans.   Or:

2.       Using our wealth with compassion to end suffering throughout the world.

 

The world sees that America is the first in wealth, yet the American government is last among developed countries in compassionate giving and has an atrocious record of inappropriate giving, like providing military aid in societies where people are starving to death.   (This is in stark contrast to the giving of the American people , especially the American middle-class, who are among the first and most generous in giving in times of need.)

 

Getting in step politically means ending “Empire America”.   This country was never meant to be an imperial power.   The world simply does not need any superpowers.   Our attempts to rule other countries have led to past military and political disasters, and have placed us in the precarious position we now occupy. 

 

Below is a partial list of the countries the US has violently attacked since 1945.  In none of these instances were the Constitutional provisions for declaring war followed.  None of these instances led to democracy.  In none of these instances did our violence lead to a better life for the citizens of that country – or this one.

 


Ø                 China 1945-46            

Ø                 Cambodia 1969-70

Ø                 Korea 1950-53            

Ø                 Guatemala 1967-69

Ø                 China 1950-53            

Ø                 Grenada 1983

Ø                 Guatemala 1954         

Ø                 Libya 1986 & 1996

Ø                 Indonesia 1958         

Ø                 El Salvador 1980’s

Ø                 Cuba 1959-60           

Ø                 Nicaragua 1920s & 1980’s

Ø                 Guatemala 1960       

Ø                 Panama 1989

Ø                 Congo 1964          

Ø                 Iraq 1991- present

Ø                 Peru 1965          

Ø                 Sudan 1998

Ø                 Laos 1964-73        

Ø                 Afghanistan 1998 &2001

Ø                 Vietnam 1961-73        

Ø                 Yugoslavia 1999

Ø                 Guyana, 1980s

Ø                 Somalia, 1993 & 1998

Ø                 Lebanon, 1980s

Ø                 Haiti, 1990s


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Getting in Step Ecologically:

Getting in step also means harmonizing our activities with the Earth’s cycles and tolerances.   We must build a world ethic of sustainability.   We must come to see over-consumption as an expression of mental and spiritual illness.

 

By trying to achieve stability through acquiring more resources, we become LESS secure, not more so.   We have developed a society that justifies greed and overconsumption as lifestyles, instead of as warning signals of mental and spiritual illness.

 

A spiritually balanced and mentally healthy person does not desire more than they can consume.   A spiritually empty person uses anything to try to fill their void.   The single most important thing we can do for the health of the Earth is to work on our own spiritual health.  [return to top]

Getting in Step Culturally:

America is the most religiously and culturally diverse society in the world.   Paradoxically, most Americans are amazingly ignorant about the cultures and religions of others.  Getting in step culturally means that we all learn and appreciate the culture of “the Other”.

 

America must stop spreading the culture of Americanism through our control of global media.   We must start using the media as a two-way cultural bridge to education America and the world about global cultures.

 

There is an unwritten, unstated assumption that Americans and Western Europeans are in some way BETTER than others, even other Europeans.   This assumption gets expressed in the way Western leaders refer to the “civilized” world, meaning America and the European nations west of the Danube River. This narrow focus causes us to ignore the possible contributions of other cultures and other systems.  [return to top]

Getting in Step Consciously

Getting in step consciously means recognizing that all of us, every culture on the planet, have something worthwhile to contribute, has its shadow sides, and has a valid role to play in the affairs of the world.   Having a shared or global consciousness means that we all have similar aspirations, similar goals and objectives, similar viewpoints on life and our future.  [return to top]

 

Getting in Step Spiritually

The ultimate of inclusivity is the recognition that each one of us, each being, is a reflection of the Creator, the Divine, and is a container of the Divine (regardless of name or label).   Each of us is “equal” in that each of us is a reflection of God.   [return to top]

 


GOAL FOUR: COMMON VALUES FOR A COMMON SOCIETY

America can be the moral and spiritual “superpower” of the world.  However, in order to achieve this, our values must be in line with our actions.  

 

In times of trouble, people turn to their basic values.   After the September 11th atrocity, America’s leaders turned to violence, vengeance, and punishment.   These are the values of “Empire America”, not the values of the people who founded this society, nor the values of common people today.   Empire America is the military and economic superpower, and demonstrates values based on power, wealth hoarding and arrogance.   [return to top]

Values and Paradox:

We Americans have lived in a dysfunctional relationship to our values for too long.  From the beginning, we stated, “all are created equal” and purported to uphold democratic principles, yet profited from slavery, apartheid, and other forms of oppression and discrimination.  The September 11th atrocity was our global wake-up call – awakening us to make our values and beliefs consistent with our practices.  

 

We must articulate and develop a common set of spiritual values, beliefs and practices.  These beliefs must transcend the narrow confines of religion, culture, class or circumstances of birth.  This faith includes:

·         Sacredness:   All life is sacred; this is particularly true for human life

 

·         Inclusivity:   We must treat all beings the way we want to be treated

 

·         Governance:   Our political values (the social compact) must include:

1.       All people are created equal

2.       Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

3.       Due process of law

 

Jesus said, “a tree is known by its fruits.”   Regardless of what we SAY about ourselves, what does the world SEE about us?  What do we want the world to know about us? 

 

We can choose to demonstrate our military might, in a world where military strength is increasingly impotent.   Or, we can choose to demonstrate the strength of our love, our compassion, in a world that needs it.   [return to top]

 

 

GOAL FIVE:  TRUTH, RECONCILIATION, ATONEMENT AND FORGIVENESS

 

America can create a climate of truth, reconciliation and forgiveness, both internally and among peoples and nations.

 

Our most immediate need is to understand how we may have encouraged terrorists and suicide bombers.   This means taking a frank and possibly painful look at ourselves and our past policies.

 

Years ago, the Republic of South Africa faced a problem of epic proportions.  After hundreds of years of oppressive white minority rule, the way was opened for a democratic government.  This could have led to a divisive power struggle.  The black majority wanted to see “justice” done to those who had murdered, tortured and oppressed them for so many years.  This was difficult to impossible, since most of the actions of the white minority may have been immoral but were legal. This could have led to a reverse bloodbath, white flight, and decades of animosity.

 

Instead of a divisive process, the people of South Africa created a novel process, one that led to real healing and transformation.   The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, created and chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu, established a process that was based on the establishment of the truth (wrongdoing), followed immediately by forgiveness

 

A similar process was followed in Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution toppled the Communist regime.   Some people wanted to punish those who collaborated with the Communists.   However, so many people collaborated, it would turn out that half the population would be punishing the other half.   President Havel ordered the records to be sealed, and entered into a process of forgiveness and reconciliation for the entire country, based on the assumption that everyone collaborated with the former regime in some way.

 

Our most immediate need is to understand how we may have encouraged suicide bombers and terrorists.   We must form citizen committees to examine ALL of the covert operations that have been undertaken, over the past fifty years.   The Citizen Oversight Committee would start examining present covert operations, so that they can stop actions that support and nurture the next wave of criminals, terrorists and social monsters.   The Citizen Oversight Committee would also examine covert institutions (like the “School of the Americas”) that may support or train the next wave of criminals, terrorists and social monsters.  

 

The Citizen Oversight Committee should be empanelled like a Grand Jury: a selected group of ordinary citizens who will serve a term.  The Committee will be authorized to receive top-secret information, and anything that has been kept from the public’s view in the name of “national security”.   The Committee will be authorized to release classified information when they determine that the reason it was kept secret was to avoid embarrassment and/or criminal sanctions.  
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[1] What is Terrorism?

In order to stop it, we must first define it.   For the purpose of this document, “terrorism” means:

1.        Intentionally inflicting pain, suffering and death on civilians and/or other non-combatants, for the purpose of achieving an aim.

2.        Inflicting pain, suffering and death on civilians and/or other non-combatants, in callous disregard of their human and civil rights.

3.        A terrorist can be an individual, an organization, a network, or a state/nation.

The delivery method of the terrorist act is immaterial to the act of terrorism itself.

 

[2] What follows is a brief summary of the steps outlined in “Creating a World That Works for All”:

1. The most essential thing in life is to establish an unafraid, heartfelt communication with others.

2.        The . . . essential thing is to relax any tension in the atmosphere in whatever way comes most easily and naturally. . . . just be natural and relaxed, be yourself.

3. Encourage the person . . . to feel as free as possible to express thoughts, fears and emotions . . .

4. . . . do not interrupt, deny, or diminish what the person is saying. . . . Learn to listen, and learn to receive in silence.

5. In all grave situations of life, two things are most useful:   a common-sense approach and a sense of humor. . . . Use humor . . . as skillfully and as gently as possible.

6. No one wishes to be “rescued” with someone else’s beliefs. Remember your task is not to convert anyone to anything, but to help the person in front of you get in touch with his or her own strength, confidence, faith and spirituality, whatever that might be.

7. Do not expect too much from yourself, or expect your help to produce miraculous results.

8. For real communication to be established, you must make a determined effort to see the person in terms of his or her own life.

9. Look at the . . . person in front of you and think of that person as just like you, with:

·           the same needs,

·           the same fundamental desire to be happy and avoid suffering,

·           the same loneliness,

·           the same fear of the unknown,

·           the same secret areas of sadness,

·           the same half-acknowledged feelings of helplessness.

You will find that if you really do this, your heart will open toward the person and love will be present between you.

 

Put yourself directly and unflinchingly in the [other] person’s place. . . . really ask yourself:

·           what would you most need?

·           what would you most like?

·           what would you really wish from the [person] in front of you?

10.              Don’t try to be too wise; don’t always try to search for something profound to say. You don’t have to do or say anything to make things better. Just be there as fully as you can.

11.              . . . the person in front of me . . . is always, somewhere, inherently good. . . . focusing on that inner goodness will give you the control and perspective you need to be as helpful as possible. . . . Treat the [other] as if they were what they are sometimes capable of being:  open, loving, and generous.

12.              You cannot help [The Other] until you have acknowledged how their fear . . . disturbs you and brings up your most uncomfortable fears. Working with [The Other] is like facing a polished and fierce mirror of your own reality.

 

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