Wednesday, 10 August 2011

New Project: Noten Kavod (Giving Respect)

Pirkei Avot: (Ethics of the Fathers) 4:1
Ben Zoma said: “…Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows. As is stated (I Samuel 2:30): "For to those who honor me, I accord honor; those who scorn me shall be demeaned."…”

Responses to Riots
With the recent riots, scenes of looting, in the UK it seems to me that one of the things that people are lacking is respect. Not just respect from others but also respect for themselves.

There are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to a number of the responses taken by people in affected communities. Some have formed broom squads to clear up the mess left by looters and others are standing on the streets at night to chase off looters. Unfortunately some have paid the ultimate price to defend their homes and businesses.

I’m fortunate that in the area that I live people do on the whole respect each other and treat their neighbours well. On the weekend people even greet each other warmly with a smile.

Crown of Respect

Counter Strategies
Anyway, as well as reading the wikiHow guide on how to survive in a riot, I’m also starting a meditation to greet others with respect that is taken from Jacobus Swart’s “The Book of Self Creation” (First in the Shadow Tree Series). See pages 186 to 188 for the details of the Rite of Noten Kavod (Giving Respect).

In summary it has 3 stages, each of which is done on a consecutive week.

  • Stage 1 is greeting everyone and everything that you interact with an exhalation whilst mentally saying Noten Kavod. Your whole mind, body and soul smiles and you image your smile flowing outwards to the thing that you are interacting with. Whether this is a friend, stranger, tree or other thing that is honoured.
  • Stage 2 follows the same procedure as stage 1 except that you imagine giving and receiving from the object or person that you are interacting with. The flow in the second week is bi-directional.
  • Stage 3 is the same as the previous two stages except that it focuses on a specific colour, element or quality (such as love, health, communication).

Here is the project summary:

Scope: Noten Kavod (Give Respect/Honour) to people and things for next 3 weeks.
Time: 3 weeks.
Cost: None.
Quality: The success criterion for this project is based on whether other people and things reciprocate the respect and honour given to them. If this goes viral and shows of respect spread across the length and breadth of this fair and green land, that’s a bonus.
Risks: The main risk is that I forget to do it repeatedly. Also that respect is not reciprocated and the unrest could get worse. This risk would be mitigated by helping promote local safety by going out on to the streets, backed up with the use of Tehillim (Psalms).