Awake in the World

Recently I saw a film called, “The Human Experience.” It followed some young guys on a quest around the world to understand human nature. The two brothers in their early 20’s had suffered abuse at the hands of their father. To discover the breadth and depth of humanity’s ability to rise from difficulty and also to suffer, they invited new experiences into their lives.

They spent several days in the dead of winter sleeping with the homeless on New York’s streets. They shivered and felt hunger and despair. One homeless person they interviewed described a bitter cold night where he was with several dogs. “People took the dogs and left me behind,” he said. Those words made my heart sink – the way we could value dogs and relate to them, but not to our human brothers and sisters.

The brothers travelled to India and volunteered at an orphanage. Many of the children been abandoned by their parents because of their severe handicaps. But the children were radiant and joyful despite their hardships. Next the brothers flew to a leper colony and listened to the stories of the outcasts. Simply having the brothers listen to the lepers brought a tremendous healing as the lepers felt respected and loved. In the end the brothers reconnected with their father and embraced him with love and forgiveness.

This film may not be for everyone. It confronts us with the real difficulties of human existence – and it also holds out the possibility of connection. When these connections occur, and people like these two brothers reach out heart to heart to others, all hearts involved can mend – if only a little. Reaching out is a step. And step by step is how we can change the world to make it a better place.

What small step will you make today to heal a heart and make the world a better place?

 Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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