Fostering Enlightenment through Tolerance & Understanding
In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, we explore the SSH Principle of Enlightenment and the important role it plays in our society. During times such as these, it is more important than ever that as a society we achieve an Enlightened state, recognizing that all faiths and religions promote love, respect, tolerance and understanding, and that any act of violence or hatred under the guise of religion is a perversion.
The Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka were especially heartbreaking given that April is a month when people of different cultures and faiths reflect and observe their respective religious celebrations and traditions. While each faith recognizes different cultural and religious practices, all are united in the commonality of their ENLIGHTENMENT and SPIRITUAL JOURNEY:
For Christians around the world, Lent is a time for reflection, atonement, forgiveness, repentance and then, with Easter, celebration of resurrection and rebirth.
For Jewish people, Passover is an eight-day festival celebrating the Jewish people’s deliverance from slavery, their emancipation and freedom.
LAILAT AL MIRAJ AND LAILAT AL BARA’AH
For people of Islamic faith, Lailat al Miraj signifies a physical and spiritual journey, while Lailat al Bara’ah is their ‘Night of Forgiveness’.
For Hindus, this festival celebrates the birth of Lord Rama who was born to establish righteousness and destroy evil.
As a society, we must continue to embrace the values of our faith, living in a state of Enlightenment so that we continue to foster a society of inclusion and acceptance.
Enlightenment and Sport
ENLIGHTENMENT is perhaps the least understood of the six Sport at the Service of Humanity Principles. While religious Enlightenment is easily understood, what does it mean in the context of Sport?
Sport has the power to transform lives and build character. Learn graciousness in victory and perspective in defeat. Apply the values you learn in sport to help you excel in life.
The Oxford dictionary defines Enlightenment as “knowledge about and understanding of something; the process of understanding something or making someone understand it.”
When we look at this definition in the context of Sport, there are a number of ways in which the Principle of Enlightenment applies:
- We play Sport from a place of Enlightenment when we use our Values
to guide us in how we conduct ourselves both on and off the playing field.
- The way that we deal with winning and losing in Sport is a demonstration
of our Enlightenment and our Character, which translates to how we deal with the ups and downs in life.
- Recognizing that the real value that Sport brings is not in the winning
or losing, but in all of the other benefits that it brings to our lives.
Living in Grace
Sport has the power to Enlighten us through the enrichment of our character and to challenge us to be our best possible selves. In order for this to happen, athletes must approach sport with open hearts and open minds.
This can only happen if there is intention behind our actions. We must go into sport in a state of grace, understanding that sport is about teamwork, perseverance and courage. We must learn to be humble in our success and gracious in our defeat.
“ Grace is not part of consciousness, it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.”
This approach to Sport can be applied to our everyday life. By focusing on the overall well being of our mind and soul, and by practicing love and understanding of others, we can cultivate the best of our whole self, whether as an athlete or a positive member of society. When this is done, we are existing in an Enlightened state.
Reflections from an SSH Young Leader
In the aftermath of the recent events in Sri Lanka, Chantal Sathi, our Sri Lankan Canadian Young Leader, shares her thoughts:
“As I reflect upon the tragedy happening in my parents’ country of Sri Lanka, I hold onto faith and remind myself of ENLIGHTENMENT – one of the six Sport at the Service of Humanity principles. My faith compels me to forgive, and enlightenment helps me to transform the anger that arises in me when I see injustice in the world.
These photos were taken in 2010 while I volunteered at several orphanages and refugee camps at the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war. I grew up learning that ‘faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains’, and the people in these refugee camps move mountains every day.
When I look back at these photos from 2010 and see images from Sri Lanka’s bombings last Sunday, I remind myself that I am blessed to live in a country where I am not persecuted for my faith. Guns and politics cannot sustain humanity, but it is the power of faith, hope and love that can transform a person’s life. I urge everyone reading this message to count their blessings and hold onto faith when they walk through the dark valleys along the journey of life.”
– Blessings, CHANTAL SATHI
Condolences and Blessings
During this time of grief and mourning, all of us at Sport at the Service of Humanity extend our condolences and blessings to the people of Sri Lanka, especially those who have been affected by this unspeakable tragedy. We invite all of you to join with us in prayer for the victims and families of all terrorist acts, especially those done in the name of religion. Together, we can support each other in healing and encourage those around us to strive for greater Enlightenment through tolerance and understanding of different cultures and faiths.