By October 25, 2022 Read More →

Remembering the True Self and the Sacred Nature of Service

A UN side event during UN General Assembly, September 26, 2022

On Monday, September 26, a group of nearly 30 people dedicated to serving many global communities via the United Nations and beyond gathered at the Brahma Kumaris’ Office for the UN to share their stories, inspirations, and wisdom on the topic of “Remembering the True Self and the Sacred Nature of Service.”  Hundreds more attended the event online.

The panel included: BK Jayanti Kirpalani, Additional Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris worldwide; Hawa Diallo, Chief of the Civil Society Unit at the Civil Society and Advocacy Section of the United Nations Department of Global Communications; Audrey Kitagawa, JD, President/Founder of the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation, as well as the Spiritual Mother of the Light of Awareness International Spiritual Family; and Carl Murrell, Principal UN Representative of the Baha’is Office of Public Affairs. The conversation was moderated by Judy Rodgers, a long-time student and teacher of Raj Yoga with the Brahma Kumaris.

A common sentiment expressed in the gathering was that answering a call to serve creates a profound inner shift that shapes the trajectory of one’s life, creating clarity of purpose even if the details are yet to be known.  In Audrey’s words, “When the call grabs you, you have to follow it.”  Sister Jayanti shared that at age 14, on seeing people’s cardboard homes melting away in India during one monsoon season, she knew her life was not for herself but for serving humanity.  Hawa recounted that her call to serve even now brings deep feelings and often tears to her eyes.

In exploring what it means to do “sacred service,” Carl Murrell proposed that any action taken with the right awareness, intentions and feelings transforms an ordinary action into a sacred one, regardless of where you are, who you are or what you are doing.  Judy then turned to the audience and invited their stories, starting with Leena Duwadie from Nepal who spoke of her experience working in a large retail store as giving her an opportunity to uplift those she met in the normal course of her day.  Though she has professionally worked as a news anchor, in this simple experience of meeting people in person, she feels called to reflect her highest values, putting her ethics and sacred sense of giving in all she does.  Some spoke to the pure feelings of joy in sacred acts of service.

Together we also explored the meaning and power of silence. Some recounted small moments of silence such as waiting for a flight at Heathrow airport as all of the UK paused for two minutes to express reverence for the late Queen Elizabeth II.  One who had been a child refugee in Biafra spoke of how precious silence is in a war zone for a child, how the fear is removed from a mother’s eyes when the sound of planes flying overhead ceases.  Sister Jayanti described silence as an opportunity to disconnect from the world outside and to connect to the innate qualities in each of us and to the Source of life and light, allowing the highest within each one to emerge.  The power of such silence allows our vision to go to the beauty of the inner being of those around us.  She mentioned how Raj Yoga students engage in “Traffic Control,” a spiritual practice of returning to a few moments of silence regularly throughout the day.  “Silence,” she said, “increases self-awareness, and emerges spiritual wisdom to face and overcome challenges.”  Silence allows for co-creation, diplomacy, increased productivity and improved collaborations.

Although the UN is generally considered to be a political and humanitarian forum, those present recognized that the seed of its creation was also spiritual, starting with Dag Hammarskjöld, its second Secretary General, who understood the importance and power of silence.  He was instrumental in creating the UN’s meditation room to “bring back stillness where no noise can impact our imagination.”

In discussing the rewards of serving through the UN, some referred to the building of deep friendships, resilient relationships, and cohesive communities.  When asked what the world needs from the UN, Sister Jayanti said that the world needs peace and that coming back to the essential message of peace can restore faith in that which is sacred.  She said, “Transformation in human individuals will bring hope, and the world needs examples of hope for the future.”

Report written by Claudia Eisinger.

Watch full event on YouTube:

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