Here on the planet, at Earth School, in Dirt City, on the Blue Marble, advice is going to be slung at you as you leave your schooling behind.
I want to tell you a few things. One, fame is an illusion, because it is just a mercurial moment in time and space where you are a star who gleams brightly. We live in something called the Kingdom of Names which has to do with who we are, What We Wear, Who We Vote For. Consider this, maybe that’s nice, necessary, and maybe unreal. Think of a wider goal.
You are living in an era where you are World Citizens, and either through trial and struggle, or a great
consultative process, we the people of the nations, will go down a road pointed towards the Oneness of Humanity, a Golden Age spoken of by prophets and seers. We will do this by today’s standards, “Boys will be Boys” and blow up much of the planet, leaving a postage stamp somewhere by an abandoned pond on which survivors will survive, and abolish war forever. Better yet, we individually could all realize
our oneness and strive together for justice and unity.
Consider your body, it is a mass of teeming action and all parts work to sustain the whole – homeostasis. Did you know that everything in the spiritual world has an exact counterpart in the physical world?
We are carrying around a blue print for unity in diversity by the mere fact of our bodies operating with intelligent rhythm.
As you leave this joyous commencement, you each will be handed a packet of instructions. They consist of:
A Hopi Message
A writing from Oriah Mountainkeeper
A Comment from Thomas Merton
A view from Etty Hillesum
An excerpt from the Baha’i Writings.
The rest is up to you.
Thank you for allowing me to deliver this commencement address in record time, thus leaving no stone unturned. I suggest you reflect upon these handouts carefully in that some of you will be tested in
odd ways. Perhaps strangers will come to you and offer you the chance of a lifetime, and the only way to accept this chance is to leave with this stranger, thereby not saying goodbye to all you love.
Some of you in the science fields will have to decide how you can contribute to the Earth’s Beleaguered Being, and come up with solutions for the healing of the Earth’s Surface.
Mostly it is up to you to live your life independently, investigate truth independently, be just, know you are in the process of becoming your true selves, and finally, be aware, exceedingly aware, of the
exigencies of your time. In a phrase, power is no longer used for personal gain, but it is used for service.
May I suggest, service to humanity be your highest aim. May we all be blessed with your struggles and
Hopi Elder’s Message 2001 via email to me from friend in Ohio
To our fellow swimmers. There is a river flowing now very fast. It
is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid. They
will try to hold onto the shore; they will feel they are being torn
apart and will suffer greatly. Know that the river has its
destination. The Elders say that we must let go of the shore, push
off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our head
above the water. And we say, see who is there with you and
celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personal,
least of all ourselves, for the moment that we do, our Spiritual
growth and journey come to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is
over. Gather yourselves. Banish the word struggle from your
attitude and vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred
manner and in celebration. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will
risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure
of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to
know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have
been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without
moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can
dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic,
remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I
want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If
you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every
day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and
still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the
full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you
have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and
despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I
want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and
not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I
want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly
like the company you keep in the empty moments.
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like
to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in
detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for
the things I want to live for. Between those two answers you can
determine the identity of any person.”
Thomas Merton, from the Man in the Sycamore Tree
Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life, An entry dated August 20, 1941,
“You must continue to take yourself seriously, you must remain your
own witness, marking well everything that happens in this world,
never shutting your eyes to reality. You must come to grips with
these terrible times, and try to find answers to the many questions
they pose. And perhaps the answers will help not only yourself but
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of
the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and
friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich,
an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of
thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be
unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto
them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the
thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the
victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all
thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a
tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a
guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the
countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of
the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind,
an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of
virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of
knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of
wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit
upon the tree of humility (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings
of Baha’u’llah, p. 285)