Omid Safi shares wisdom on expanding our circle of compassion, redefining success, the dis-ease of busyness, and how love is synonymous with social justice.
To honor graduates around the world whose ceremonies were affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Omid felt it fitting to share a commencement speech he gave to a graduating class at Colgate University, where he used to teach. Amidst a bouncing levity, Omid offers deep and meaningful advice on redefining success, the dis-ease of busyness, expanding our circle of compassion, and how love and social justice are synonymous.
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What does it mean to be successful? Omid shares a perspective which allows us to open to a more generous and kind understanding of what it means to have a successful life; one which is not about individual accumulation of wealth, but is practical, bathed in humility, and is about the transformation of communities.
“Rather than thinking of success as being tied to a number in your bank account, think of success as a communal experience. It’s not about what you and I as individuals can get to, but it is about the extent to which we get to transform the lives of people in our community. You are who you are because somebody loved you. You are who you are because somebody sacrificed for you.” – Omid Safi
Go even deeper in redefining success on Ep. 12 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Human-Beings, Not Human-Doings (17:15)
Avoid the dis-ease of being busy. When Omid asks his friends how they are doing, he is accustomed to answers of, “So busy, so busy…” How do we remember we are human-beings, not human-doings? When someone asks how you are, don’t shout back your to-do list. What is really being asked is, “How is your heart today?” Take the risk and make yourself vulnerable, and you might find it changes the dynamic of your connection.
“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human. Examine the life. Take the time to reflect, sit down with your own self, and banish the word ‘busy’ from your vocabulary, and instead ask the question, ‘Is it meaningful?'” – Omid Safi
Caught up being busy? Uncover tools for staying in the moment in this post from our Awakened Heart Blog
Expanding Your Circle of Compassion (20:14)
Omid asks us to examine our circle of compassion to find out how deep and wide is it. Are your three favorite people in the world me, myself and I? If so, you have compassion, but you’re caught up at the realm of the ego. If you expand that beyond yourself, but only to your family, you are stuck in nepotism. If you push beyond that to loving your country, but no more, you are caught in nationalism. If you extend that only to people of your skin color, there you are in racism. The practice is to continue expanding your circle of compassion until every sentient being and every human being is included, no exceptions.
“Love is nothing shy of the unleashing of God onto this realm. It is love that brought you here, it is love that sustains you here, and it is love that will delivery you back home. The minute you experience real love in any of these contexts you have merged into that cosmic current that’s going to carry you back home.” – Omid Safi
Expand your circle of compassion and love to benefit others in Ep. 10 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Love as Social Justice (23:35)
If you care about planetary justice and social justice, the world needs you, both globally and at home. The planet is burning up and people are crying out in suffering. Omid harkens a call to action, not to be successful, but to be great. Greatness is measured by the extent to which you’re willing to put your love into the service of others.
“Here’s the secret that no one tells you about justice: All that we mean by justice, is love. When love comes into the public arena, that’s all we mean by justice; that we want for other people’s babies, the same thing that we would want for our own babies.” – Omid Safi
Discover more about the relationship of love and justice on Ep. 183 of Mindrolling