Elephant sculpture at Wat Chiang Mun, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Here's a summary of the seeds of humility I gathered in our latest trip to Thailand (Part I, Part II, Part III):
Bringing the most awareness I can to a situation is a valuable contribution; I can dedicate any merit from my actions, however small, to the betterment of others--whoever I choose.
We can come together in our families, neighborhoods and communities with shared values that include courtesy, cooperation, and a desire for others to be safe, successful and happy.
There are other ways to be entertained that don't include harming animals or humans.
Each seed informs how I am choosing to step into empowered action.
“Courage is the commitment to begin without any guarantee of success.” ~ JoHann Wolfgang von Goethe
The first empowered action I'm committing to is to bring as much awareness and kindness as I can to any given situation. And, to refrain from judging how much, as any amount is helpful.
Secondly, and attached to this, is dedicating any benefit from that awareness or any of my actions to the end of suffering of elephants and other beings for the sake of human entertainment.
The third empowered action is to recognize that we are all in this together--in the case of abuse to elephants, there is a demand for entertainment by the public and there are families and communities that depend on the elephants and tourists for their sustenance. To keep this awareness and work diligently to not make enemies out of anyone in this awakening and transition. To not harm through harsh judgment those that are harming. To honor shared values of courtesy, cooperation, and a desire for others to be safe, successful and happy.
The fourth empowered action is to help empower those that are learning and teaching non-harmful, dignified ways for trainer, elephant and tourist interactions. This is through educating the public, not financially supporting animal adventures that contribute to harming the animals, and donating a portion of proceeds from my work (plus those collected from others) to the Elephant Nature Park , particularly, the work of Lek Chailert to help transition other elephant camps to use more humane approaches. (Donors in the U.S. may make tax-deductible donations to their partner, The Serengeti Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.)
These efforts may not be to the level of dedication a monk or nun lives for the benefit of all beings, but they contribute. Whatever their size, when it's given with genuineness, they contribute.
I'm curious, what has humility empowered you to do?
Fresco, Wat Chiang Mun (?), Chiang Mai, Thailand.
May elephants be free from suffering for the sake of human entertainment.
~JoAnn Saccato, MA, is a mindfulness teacher, life coach, author and consultant. Mindfulness is a popular health and wellness practice based on purposefully paying kind, non-judgmental attention to direct experience. It is a scientifically proven approach that helps reduce stress and stress-related illnesses, increase focus and attention, decrease incidences of and relapses with depression, reduce anxiety, reduce relapses in addiction, and aids in sleep and digestive disorders. It has also been shown to increase well being, life satisfaction and happiness, as well as improved social relationships. You can reach her at JoAnn@MindfulAndIntentionalLiving.com . To follow JoAnn and receive a free guided loving kindness meditation and webinar to help you sleep better, visit: www.MindfulAndIntentionalLiving.com
A portion of proceeds from Ms. Saccato's work are donated to efforts to rescue Asian elephants in the entertainment field from abusive treatment.