Principles of MoyoMaya

Principles of MoyoMaya

I have come to deeply appreciate the power of volunteerism to open one’s heart, mind and self-awareness, and to transform one’s perspective of his or her role and relationship to the world at large. My volunteer experiences have each provided a unique gift of insight, presented here as “principles” of MoyoMaya.

No act is too small and none occur in isolation.

No act of kindness, selflessness or giving is too small or too brief. All actions occur in context and – in the life of a Romanian orphan – such actions are woven into the fabric of a lifetime. Very often we stand back and ask, “What difference can I make? What can I really offer that will change anything?” MoyoMaya suggests that the simple act of stepping forward with intent to give or to heal invokes the unseen spiritual network of thoughts, ideas and people to which we are endlessly bound. There is no act too small; there are only those that never happen at all.

♥ People need hope, respect and support – not solutions.

“Expertise” and “solutions” are not to be delivered; they must be encouraged and harvested within the heart and minds of those with whom we live and work. As a volunteer (or, as a friend, family member or colleague), our role is not to provide answers; we need only to remain graciously open to the lessons we are learning ourselves. In this way, we “hold space” for the growth and empowerment of another, and we become an essential channel of hope. MoyoMaya reminds us that our greatest role – in all contexts – is to be friend and facilitator of the divine spark and innate wisdom that already lies within.

♥ The heart knows we hold more in common than we do in difference.

Participating in the world at the level of your own heart requires a willingness to abandon preconceived notions and constructions of reality that stem from the culture and country into which you happen to have been born and are living. We must be willing to step away from the idea that we hold ideals to which another part of the world should be striving to meet. MoyoMaya invites us to connect to and reach toward others because we are the same as them, not because we are different – because we can understand their basic emotions, struggles, joys and longings, and we recognize these things within ourselves.

♥ Joy depends upon the presence of community, not the absence of problems.

Many volunteers in the developing world make the same observation: “They have nothing, but they are so happy. We have everything, and we are so miserable.” Indeed, when we perceive ourselves as separate (which is the bedrock of culture and consciousness in most affluent nations today), we construct artificial and unnatural definitions and standards of “success” and “happiness.” Very often these supposed achievements include the addition of material goods, and the elimination of any form of discomfort or inconvenience. MoyoMaya reminds us that our truest heritage is spiritual unity; i.e., connection and relationship and the feeling of being understood. MoyoMaya suggests that true joy and happiness is a natural expression of the contented spirit – a spirit contented by its connection to a “community” with whom it can laugh, cry, celebrate and struggle.

♥ Compassion is the celebration of spirit, not the pity of circumstance.

Compassion is commonly defined as “sympathy, sorrow and pity at the suffering of another and the wish to relieve this suffering.” However, to see the circumstances of another through eyes of pity is to pass judgment on that person by perceiving them, their situation and yourself through a lens of preconceived and subjective ideals. MoyoMaya reminds us that compassion is actually a simple, heart-felt perspective that chooses to embrace every person on their own terms and in their own context. It sees similarity, power and potential in all places, and it understands the role that it can play in harvesting these things in cooperation.

MoyoMaya encourages our compassion- based consciousness to look deeper than material circumstance, and chooses to recognize, encourage and celebrate the resilience and perseverance of the human spirit.


[This is an excerpt from a minibook that I published in 2010, titled “MoyoMaya: Sacred Space Between Us and the Power to Change the World“. You are welcome to download the eBook to read more.]

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