What Happened After the Awkward Pause
In June 2006, while speaking in Tanzania at a Christian Festival (crusade), I had a dream one night that had a profound effect on me. In the dream, I found myself sitting on a chair near the head of a long, gray table. Diagonally across from me and slightly pushed back in disinterest, sat a well-known Hollywood actress.
I tried to communicate with her, but we had nothing in common, so our time together consisted of mostly awkward pauses. I thought about how I could share my beliefs with her, but my words were empty, meaningless, and hollow. I barely believed them myself.
Then I saw a black silhouette that appeared to be an African child sitting at the head of the table. I stood up and leaned over from behind with my arms around the shoulders of the child, similarly to what I often do with my own children. It was a pure expression of fatherly love. Then I asked the Hollywood actress about her own children, and suddenly we made a connection. We communicated in laughter, and the barrier between us came down.
Out of that exchange based on respect, friendship, and compassion for one another, we were able to share our ideas and thoughts freely. The motivation was not to convert the other to a religious belief, but to help one another experience freedom from the stress, pressure, and emotional pain that is common to everyone.
Although it was just a dream, it communicated an important principle: the path forward for humanity is not through converting others to an intellectual belief system. Such a strategy ultimately becomes just another device of the egoic mindset.
Instead, life is found in being present with all things. Awareness of the divine presence, in what your senses perceive as yourself and others, is what brings hope to the world. A set of beliefs is never the end-goal, but only ideas to exchange to point us toward finding the Truth in all of us.
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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