Awakening To Who You Are

by Jun 21, 2021Theme: Live With Purpose

I began my work with orphaned children in Tanzania about a year after my transformative encounter with divine love in 2006. Working with children, or being involved with humanitarian work, had never been on my list of life goals. But after my dream on June 30, 2006, I was moved with compassion for AIDS orphans in Africa.

At the time, I didn’t know what to do. But later that year, I went with a team, including my friend Daniel Kooman, a young filmmaker, to film a documentary called Africa Sing Me Your Song.

After meeting many officials, I told the team that we needed to find some orphaned children for the film. While standing on the street, two young boys, Juma and Haruna, came up to us begging for money. Both the children were covered in dust, with no shoes on their feet, and they wore ripped t-shirts and filthy shorts. After giving them some clothes and feeding them, we asked where they lived. They took us to a place behind a bar, where at some point, someone had intended to build a house. Unfortunately, all that had been constructed were stone walls about two feet high. There was no roof, and the floor was a mixture of cement and a patch of grass littered with broken beer bottles thrown there by people at the bar.

At the time, we didn’t know what to do. But a few months later, Daniel and I flew back, along with my son, Nathanael, searching for the two boys. By that time, they had moved. But after a few hours, we finally found them. They were living with five other orphaned children in a small hut about 6 feet by 6 feet. That day, I promised them that they would never have to beg again. Several months later, we raised enough funds to build all the children a new home in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Tabora, Tanzania, where they still live.

Since then, we have helped hundreds of other children in that region. We also started a charity called Juma’s World that works in impoverished villages to better the lives of the most vulnerable in the world. Before my experience with unconditional love during intense physical pain at the beginning of 2006, my interest in helping the most vulnerable among us was virtually non-existent, except for the occasional donation to ease my conscience or enhance my ego when others were watching. But experiencing unconditional love shifted something inside of me, and serving the needs of others became an effortless instinct.

My experience is not unique. But, sitting down with you, I know you could share how awakening to your essence of love has made you more generous and compassionate toward the ones considered less valuable by society. Because finding your true self transforms not only yourself but the way you perceive and treat others.

As you identify with the humanity in others, the line between what is in here and what is out there becomes indistinct. In truth, the oneness you share with others is what keeps you most aware of the presence of Love within you. You have found your true self not just in yourself but in everyone and everything. You have awakened to who you are.

Adapted from David Youngren, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True Self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and What You Do.

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