In John Lennon’s famous song “Imagine” there is the line, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” That line used to make my heart ache, because it seemed so far off, so impossible. This past September, however, I proposed a new philosophy – one based upon mutual acceptance and understanding. It is comprised of four key components. They are respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness, or RECK for short. Since that time, Lennon’s classic line has taken on a new sense of hopefulness for me.
Now, each time I hear, think, or sing that line my mind opens to the possibilities of what RECK could do if I were able to spread my message and have others embrace the philosophy. It’s corny, I know, but I am hopeful. It fills me with joy, excitement, and anticipation in a way that nothing has for a very long time. And I don’t say these words lightly. After all, I have spent that past 12 ½ years trying to make the world a more compassionate place through my nonprofit Century of Compassion. And I spent several years as a student of compassion before that.
Over those years, both through Century of Compassion and before, I dreamt of a more compassionate and caring world. However, I often sensed that Compassion alone wasn’t going to be enough to get us there. There needed to be more. Many times, I would find myself telling people that they must also have respect for others and must first feel empathy before they could achieve compassion. Even the Dalai Lama himself preaches a doctrine of loving-kindness beyond mere compassion.
I spent most of 2017 feeling that Century of Compassion just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. I felt a substantial urge to both expand and hone my philosophy to include these elements I so often called upon in addition to compassion. It was from this contemplation that RECK was forged.
One happy accident with RECK is that reck is a word unto itself. It already existed. Its definition is “to have care, concern, or regard.” It’s the base word for words like reckon and reckless. I delight in the fact that my word that stands for “respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness” also means “to have care, concern, or regard.”
Through RECK we can put an end to much of the world’s plight once and for all. We will be able to encourage people to talk out their problems and work out their differences. If everyone treated one another with RECK, there would finally be no more war, murder, or genocide, because you can’t harm someone you respect, have empathy and compassion for, and treat with kindness.
True peace and lasting peace is possible. Each of us can make a difference. We really can change the world.
So, let’s have RECK for one another, everyone! And all the people can be living life in peace.