Aung San Suu Kyi: 1. Peace Through Work 2. Myanmar 2013 – Press Conference with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Illustration by Cap Pannell

Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi reflects on her spiritual life, our democratic responsibility, and the importance of asking questions.

By:Ilima Loomis

In the more than 15 years she spent under house arrest between 1989 and 2010, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says one of the most important things she learned was the power of kindness.

“Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in our world,” she said in her 2012 Nobel speech, more than two decades after she was awarded the Peace Prize. “Kindness can change the lives of people.”

A lifelong Buddhist, who has said she passed many hours of her confinement practicing vipassana meditation to gain greater clarity of mind, Suu Kyi today is navigating her transition from prisoner of conscience to nation builder. Last year she joined Burma’s parliament as a leading member of the opposition party, and she travels around the world to meet with heads of state and to call attention to her country’s continuing struggle for democracy and peace.

Absolute peace on earth is “an unattainable goal,” she said in her Nobel speech. But, she continued, it is a goal toward which humanity must never cease to strive.

“Even if we do not achieve perfect peace on earth—because perfect peace is not of this earth—common endeavors to gain peace will unite individuals and nations in trust and friendship and help to make our human community safer and kinder,” she said.

Suu Kyi spoke to journalists in Honolulu earlier this year, only her second visit to the United States since she was released from house arrest in 2010. Her face is now lined, and her hair shows streaks of gray, but her perfectly straight back and her intense, steady gaze are seemingly unchanged.


I’ve never thought of myself as having a spiritual life apart from my work. It’s a part of my work. I approach my work as a whole person, and that includes any spiritual strength I may have as well as other strengths.

Maintaining a sense of personal peace

I do meditate, but I don’t have as much time to meditate now as I used to under house arrest. One of the advantages of house arrest was that there was a lot of time for meditation. But I think I see peace through work. I don’t think of myself as surrounded by conflict—I think of myself as someone with a very, very tight schedule and a lot of work to accomplish each day. And by getting through it each day, I get a lot of satisfaction, and satisfaction gives you a sense of peace.

Prisoners of conscience

People talk about prisoners of conscience. I think a person of conscience is somebody who believes in what he or she is doing and does it because of his or her belief. And if we respect their beliefs, then we have a moral obligation to stand up for them and stand with them, and that stands for prisoners of conscience anywhere and everywhere.

Asking questions

Freedom of thought, I think in many ways, is a habit. You have to learn to think. You must learn to ask questions. You must not accept that things are just as they are. If you want to change things, you must get at the root of the trouble, and I think people are very quick to catch on to this.

The duty to vote

I keep telling people that if they do not exercise their democratic responsibilities, they may find that their rights get eroded. We have to be aware of how lucky we are if we happen to have a democratic government. When I was living in England, I was appalled at the fact that many of my friends neglected to vote, and I would tell them, “I’ve never had a chance to vote in a free election. Why are you not using your vote?” If you don’t use your vote, if you don’t use your democratic rights, it’s failing in your democratic responsibility. And everybody has a responsibility to uphold the kind of society in which they want to live.


I was once talking to a young man [in Burma] who had family problems. And he told me that all he wanted was peace of mind. It made me feel very sad, because when I was his age, I never thought of peace of mind. I took it for granted that I could do whatever I wanted in this world—I had so many choices open to me. I realized then of course that not all young people are equally lucky, equally fortunate.

I think young men and women should not need to think about peace. If they need to think about peace, there’s something wrong with this society. Because the young should be so full of confidence and energy and expectation and choices that they do not think of peace as the most important element in their lives.

Women in government

We’ve tried to involve women as much as possible in politics and peacemaking. For example, in the elections last year, we tried to put in as many women candidates as possible. It was not a satisfactory number, but we have almost doubled the numbers of women representatives in our parliament. So we haven’t done too badly, but nothing like as well as I would have wished. We really need more women who can get involved in politics and who are willing to get involved in politics.

How the United States should respond to North Korea

I think you should find out why they have adopted this “offensive posture,” if this is how you see it. Because I always believe in asking the question why. I think an offensive posture has a lot to do with the necessity to defend oneself in some way.
I think behind offense is always some kind of fear, mistrust, lack of understanding. You have to work to change those.

Burma as a model for peace

I think people see my country now as a place where there can be a happy ending, where things seem to be heading in the right direction. I don’t think things are as easy as that. I’ve always been a very cautious optimist, and I think we have to work very hard before we can get Burma to where we want it to go. But I’ve never thought of it as a focal point for peace because of the ethnic conflict in the country. I think people are trying to achieve peace for us, but we have to try to do it for ourselves.

Her own political future

A bright one, I hope.


Myanmar 2013 – Press Conference with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Published on Jun 6, 2013

• Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD); Member of Parliament from Kawhmu Constituency, Myanmar

Marianne Williamson 1. On Moving Forward 2. On the word Love 3. On Reversing War

Marianne on Moving Forward

Marianne on the Word Love

Marianne on Reversing War

Enlightenment is to be Lived By Rabbi Rami Shapiro

My best friend and I are intrigued by enlightenment but can’t define it. What is enlightenment?

Rabbi Rami: For me enlightenment is the act or art of embracing what is as it is, accepting that it is what it is because at that moment it cannot be other than it is, and then engaging justly and compassionately with what is. Nothing to be intrigued about, just lived.

If God is infinite, God is everything.
If God is everything, God is also ego.
If God is also ego, why should we kill the ego?

Many spiritual systems wrongly demonize the ego. Without our egos we couldn’t dress ourselves, bathe ourselves, hold down a job, love, raise a family, or do so much else that makes human life worthwhile. Spirituality doesn’t kill the ego but nurtures it through practices that help the ego to realize its proper place and function; in this way spirituality helps the ego to stop playing God and become a vehicle for godliness instead.

I’m seeking a Jewish spiritual path. My rabbi says Judaism isn’t about spirituality but about compassion and justice. Is she right? Do I have to change religions to find what I seek?

First of all, you should align yourself with whatever religion with which you feel the most comfortable. Secondly, while your rabbi is correct that Judaism is about compassion and justice, Judaism teaches that compassion and justice arise when we walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). Judaism offers many spiritual practices for doing this. Central to my own Jewish practice is chanting (in Hebrew) the 13 attributes of God, based on Exodus 34:6-7: hidden; manifest; creative; compassionate; graceful; patient; overflowing kindness; overflowing truth; preserving kindness; forgiving deliberate sin; forgiving inadvertent error; forgiving missed opportunities to do good; and cleansing oneself of pride, arrogance, fear, and anger. Ask your cantor to teach you how to chant the attributes, and repeat them over and over throughout the day. This plants the attributes within you. Over time, they will sprout like holy seeds and shape your every thought, word, and deed in alignment with justice and compassion. And, as your rabbi said, that is the heart of Jewish spirituality.

My 15-year-old son is selfish, greedy, and often very angry. Can spirituality be of help to him?

When I was 15, I, too, was selfish, greedy, and often very angry. Some 46 years later, I’m still selfish, greedy, and often very angry. Adolescents are developing egoically, and the developing ego often feels alienated. With alienation comes fear, selfishness, greed, and anger. Spiritual practices geared to the needs of adolescents help the ego to mature fearlessly. Moving beyond fear allows one to move beyond alienation, selfishness, greed, and anger as well. So, yes, spiritual practice can help your son, but take care to find a teacher who understands the spiritual needs of adolescents and who can midwife the birth of a healthy ego rather than seek to transcend the ego prematurely.

What can we do to end religious fear, violence, and war?

The solution is to realize that religions are human inventions. As such they often reflect, feed, and magnify our fearful, violent, and warring tendencies by creating and then worshiping a God who does the same. Once we know that we create God in our image, we can measure the quality of our lives by looking at the quality of our God. The more angry, judgmental, violent, and demonizing of others our God is, the more angry, judgmental, violent, and demonizing we must be. Cease to be this way and God and religion will cease to be this way as well.

I’m sort of a Catholic-Hindu. How do I free myself from original sin and karma?

Stop being Catholic or Hindu and become a Jew or a Muslim instead. Neither Jews nor Muslims suffer from original sin or karma. Karma and original sin are just concepts fed to you by your parents, teachers, community, or religious group. Rather than focusing on concepts about reality, just engage each moment as it is. This won’t free you from karma or original sin, but it will free you from the need to be free.

I believe Krishna, no less than Christ, is God. My pastor (I’m Southern Baptist) says this is heresy. Why can’t he see what I see?

It’s a matter of brand loyalty. Religions tell us what to see and often condemn us for seeing something else. If you’ve moved beyond this and see Christ and Krishna as equal manifestations of God, fine, but don’t expect your pastor to do so or condemn him for not doing so. Blindness, bigotry, and bias are not limited to the brand-name faiths. Honor what he does see rather than bemoan what he doesn’t.

Why do people believe in eternal damnation?

People like to win. Winning is more fun if others lose. For some people winning is even more fun if losing means losing for all eternity, and it’s the most fun if it includes endless torture. Such people scare me not because of what they believe but because of what behaviors their beliefs excuse.

Source: Spirituality & Health Magazine

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award winning author, poet, essayist, and educator whose poems and essays have been anthologized in over a dozen volumes, and whose prayers are used in prayer books around the world.

Rami received rabbinical ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and holds a PH.D. in religion from Union Graduate School. A congregational rabbi for 20 years, Rabbi Rami is currently Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Middle Tennessee State University where he also directs The Writer’s Loft, MTSU’s creative writing program, and director of Wisdom House, a center for interfaith study, dialogue, and contemplative practice at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville. In addition to writing books, Rami writes a regular column for Spirituality and Health magazine called Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler, and blogs at

Living in the Supermind From Personal Mind to Spiritual Mind ~ Dr. Maurie D.Pressman

Living in the SUPERMIND reveals that there is within us a mind beyond imagination. It is a Supermind which offers the power of knowledge, love, and inspiration beyond dreams. But it must be opened.

What is this Supermind? It is the mind of the dream and spirit. It was once available to civilizations across the world, but it became suppressed as the intellect developed and hypertrophied.

The Plan of Evolution designated that we concentrate, build and nourish our intellect which would then lead us into a disciplined, ordered and controlled personality. But, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, we have fallen too much in love with it.

We have this enormous power within us. It is the power of the God-Mind. But shrouded by doubt and fear, we leave the God-mind and give in to the false belief that we are better off separate than united. Union is our natural state.

Maurie D. Pressman, M.D., is Emeritus Chairman of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia and Emeritus Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Temple Medical School. His practice focuses on spiritual psychotherapy and the exploration of the human soul. During a long and prestigious career, Dr. Pressman has studied the potential of the human mind and soul for over forty years exploring the connections between traditional psychiatry and holistic-spiritual psychotherapy.

Click here to browse inside.

Supermind – Intro

Published on May 15, 2013
Dr. Maurie D Pressman, author of Living in the Supermind.

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