Be the Cause

Walking for Hope Changes

Most people assume charities and non-profits just want their money. Some even think its a waist of time to donate money, time or energy to oversized beaureaucratic institutions that burn most of the funds raised anyway. But there does exist what I like to call a “pure non-profit” model and a prime example of this liquid organization that has zero employee’s on the payroll but is never shy of volunteers is Be The Cause. Be The Cause is a unique non-profit in the sense that it has been able to retain its integrity as it pertains to its original charter – to offer opportunities for compassionate service.

One such major opportunity rolls around once every year in the form of a Walk For Hope. This is a reflective walk that leads the participant along a park path covered with inspirational messages and famous quotes, all selected for their insight and motivation. There are several stations set-up along the beautiful path for individuals who have signed up or who are just visiting the park to stop by and sew some seeds of change or write yourself a letter that will be mailed to you later. But at the heart of the walk is the sense that the world is not such a bad place and that one individual can and does make a difference. All the money raised that day is donated to the walker’s charity of choice. Not a single penny goes to BTC and all the people setting up that day are volunteers giving of their time and capitalizing on the opportunity to serve. I was one such volunteer.

Usually, and far to frequently, it is assumed that the person giving their money, time or resources is the one blessing the cause, organization or event. But in my experience in volunteerism with BTC it is just the opposite. While there is some sort of personal satisfaction that automatically swells in the heart and mind when charity or service is conducted with pure intentions, it is far more likely that the individual serving is truly the one receiving and benefiting. I myself was one of these who gained so much more. There are two dynamics occurring, what the volunteer perceives and what everyone else perceives and BTC and the Walk For Hope provide a mirror through the opportunity of giving to see one’s self as they serve others. To see one’s self as others see them is a powerful and profound crown jewel of knowledge.

As I woke at 3AM to help with the early set-up for the WFH, I could not help but hope that somebody would appreciate the self-sacrifice of sleep I was donating even if I myself could not. But I truly discovered that the joy of service was all mine. To see such smiling faces so early in the morning was uplifting as well as inspiring. To come together with people of like minds to create a space of hope and compassionate service was overwhelming.

You see, I had be regressing in my morning rituals and habits. For I had been waking up at 6AM for yoga, meditation and prayer before going to work and was up and until the WFH was sleeping past 6AM to 7AM and starting my days off rushed and flustered rather than the peaceful and tranquil beginning I was becoming accustomed to experiencing. I had struggled with this dichotomy of sleeping in and going to bed late for a couple weeks at the expense of my integrity and well being but on the day I volunteered for the WFH, it all went away.

As painful as it was perceived to be, getting up that early actually awoke in me the confidence and renewed passion for waking up early. I knew I could do it because I just did it for the WFH! I knew 6AM was possible. And sure enough it was! I was not expecting nor was I anticipating for my life to be bettered or benefited in any way other than what I was contributing to the over all WFH but as it were I was granted a pardon and could look at myself and say, “see, you CAN do it”! I don’t know how others were specifically impacted by the WFH, I could only gauge by the happy people, smiling faces and jovial energy pulsating through the crowd that people enjoyed their four hours of community but I do know that some how, some way, the volunteer becomes the charity somewhere along the way for the universe to bless by its benevolent grace.

Thank you.

Jason Thomas

Baha’i Center of Orange County

It was Easter Sunday and people seemed especially ready for service. As a member of a different faith other than Baha’i, I was looking forward to seeing how a Baha’i service was conducted. Being Easter, I had almost forgot about the hour and half service as I was consumed with thoughts of the crucifixion and resurrection. But boy was I extremely surprised and delighted to be in that service! It was amazing, different individuals singing and chanting in different languages that inspires the soul to dance in different ways. Poems and passages were read from many different traditions, but all centering on The Kingdom.

The Kingdom as I describe it, is used to describe the invisible or undetectable fabric that completes the material world (invisible or undetectable according to naturalistic science and its tools and methodology). It is said that Plato was the first to distinguish this world of ideas as other than the world of objects and form. It was considered that every material object was a mere copy of the unseen idea, so a physical coffee table was but a imperfect copy of TABLE. This is the duality of Life, each “world” has its own set of policies and politics that govern it…usually opposite of each other but completing each other. For example, the world of ideas clings to virtue – the turning of the other cheek and forgiveness; while the world of objects and forms holds that might makes right and its a dog-eat-dog world. So at the Baha’i center, all chants, songs, poems and readings, regardless of language and religious tradition were centered on “The Kingdom”.

What was considerably interesting was the Baha’i open and free form style of service. If you can imagine a Methodist church with out all the symbology and without a pastor, that would be the environment. Congregates just got up on their own and approached the front and read or sang. How refreshing! It was also exciting to not know what would come next, a Persian song, a Muslim poem or a Catholic chant. It was clear that the entire Kingdom was represented and the Baha’i’s place very small limits on its definition and by doing so expand the notion to include the cultures, religions and traditions of the world. It was beautiful to be in a place without religious and cultural boundaries, but all focused on The Kingdom.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in The Kingdom to check out a Baha’i service to experience the warmth and hospitality that each of us felt while we were there. The sense of community that existed, with everyone smiling at one and other, acknowledging each others presence with a smile and greeting adds to the feeling of community. Even as a non-Baha’i, one could not help but feel part of the community. Since The Kingdom is the focal point and not any one particular tradition, a Baha’i can be anyone and there is no one set ethnicity or culture that is Baha’i, everyone gets the star treatment. A very enjoyable morning, I wouldn’t of traded my Easter Sunday Service for anything else.

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