Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Peace BeWho is that stranger beside you?
Service to all sentient beings starts with your family, friends, and pets. Make a commitment to remember that those whom you deal with intimately are all secretly divine. You will fail in this constantly, as I do. Don’t waste time in judging and condemning yourself—that, too, can be a bitter game of the ego—just return to the practice with tenderness and self-forgiveness, and you will see that over time those whom you have to deal with intimately will become more and more precious to you. From this experience of forming increasingly sacred relationships, a wholly new vision of the sacredness of reality will start to be born in you.
But it is not only your intimate circle that needs to be seen and served in this way. In the course of our days we meet all different kinds of people—bus drivers, shopkeepers, waiters, bank tellers, and telephone operators. Remembering to treat everyone with sacred respect is perhaps the most difficult practice for our goal-oriented, self-driven egos; we all tend to feel that it is our needs that are most urgent and important and that others exist only to fulfill them as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is especially true in western societies where nearly everything is based on bottom-line utilitarian efficiency. We are encouraged to see ourselves and everyone else as cogs in a machine that has to be kept working relentlessly at all costs. The price we pay for this feverish coldness is immense; it deadens our souls and fills our bodies with nervous stress. Practicing sacred respect for all others starts to release us from these harsh forces and set us free to be our truest selves. The essence of my vision of Sacred Activism is that the power and effectiveness of our actions in the world depends on the quality of intention we bring to them.
I once met an elevator attendant in a hotel in Arizona. He was old, grizzled, and perky and sported a curled-up Daliesque moustache. He told me that he had once been stuck in the elevator with an extraordinary person in red robes who changed his life. They were together for almost 20 minutes, and the man in red robes treated him with such patience, humor, and consideration that he lost all nervousness, all sense of shame that his lift wasn’t working, and started to talk about his family and his life. When the lift finally arrived in the lobby, the man in red robes embraced him warmly and then stepped out smiling to greet a large crowd of people who were waiting for him. It was the Dalai Lama. The attendant told me, “I never felt so loved in my life.”