A Humbling Experience

I received this email from a person who had read The Power of Acknowledgment, and his comments just about “knocked my socks off.” I post it for you in its entirety, because I think there is great wisdom from which we can all benefit. I welcome your comments on these beautiful words, and coming just after Valentine’s Day, I hope they inspire us to keep acknowledging the people we care about, which encourages them to inspire others, and so on and so on….

Hi Judy:
 I read your book the day after I received it. As it happened, I was in the middle of Ethics for the New Millennium, by the Dalai Lama. The two have much in common. In “The Ethics of Compassion” chapter, he writes, “Because our capacity for empathy is innate, and because the ability to reason is also an innate faculty, compassion shares the characteristics of consciousness itself. The potential we have to develop it is therefore stable and continuous. It is not a resource that can be used up….” This resonates with your 5th Principle and others. Your book provides a similar human service to the reader. It occurred to me that, as one keeps company with positive thoughts, behaviors begin to shift on a deep level. Like many of our developed skills, language provides the true back story. That language creates worlds, seems more evident to me as I get older. Offering acknowledgments is a way of using words to change the world, isn’t it? And we always have the choice of the words we use.

The Dalai Lama would probably expand your 1st Principle to “all people deserve to be acknowledged,” but the intention, I think, is the same.

Like you, Dalai Lama uses actual experiences to demonstrate the power of compassion and reason. I particularly liked your examples around the notion of recognizing that which we find positive and powerful in others. In my work with teachers, I often hear myself exhorting them to find the child’s power, the successes, to build on. The assumption is that there is a core of beauty and potential in all of us. We get to decide what focus to take, what to pay attention to. That decision is fateful!

Your premise empowers each of us to make those decisions that can make life happier and healthier for those with whom we interact. This, in itself, makes it an ethical issue as well as one that could be thought of as spiritual. For me, the idea of spiritual acts does not refer to the metaphysical but to quite palpable human behaviors and attitudes. Dalai Lama makes a distinction between ethics and spirituality. His perspective makes sense to me. In the chapter,” Redefining The Goal,” he says, “There is an important distinction to be made between what we might call ethical and spiritual acts. An ethical act is one where we refrain from causing harm to others’ experience or expectation of happiness. Spiritual acts we can describe in terms of those qualities of love, compassion, patience, humility, tolerance, and so on which presume some level of concern for others’ well being. We find that the spiritual actions we undertake which are motivated not by narrow self-interest but out of our concern for others actually benefit ourselves. And not only that, but they make our lives meaningful.”

I thank you for The Power of Acknowledgement. It raises my consciousness to practice these important principles every day.

Dick Piazza 

Dick Piazza’s Awakenings: Brain-Compatible Learning Workshops

Email: [email protected]


And I thank you, Dick, for your thoughtful and very humbling comparisons and lessons learned.  I am truly honored.