An Excerpt from the 2014 Telesummit – Cultural Differences
One of the stories that sticks in my mind particularly around cultural differences is, I was working in a children's center. Here in the UK, we have children's centers set up in areas which they see as disadvantaged or deprived or where they're not getting as many resources or access to as many resources. And so child care is available for children up until the age of just five. That's the way it was.
And my premise was, well, it's for me to go in and work with the mothers because in order for you to have a healthy child, it's about having a healthy mother as well. And in the children's center that I was working in, I think I said before, had mothers who were Muslims, young Muslims; we had Hindus; we had Christians; we had Atheists. I had a group of about 10 women, all very diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds.
And I'll always remember this, I was playing a Syd CD, it was just like, "Let's listen to this for a moment, just to point us back to who we really are and the source." And I recall Syd saying in the CD, "There isn't anybody better than you. There isn't anybody higher than you, we're all the same." And I could feel a shift in the room (laughing) and at the end of the recording, the Muslim women said, "Janet, we have to... because Muhammad is higher than anybody. That is it. We're not worthy."
And all of this erupted in the room, and I went, "Oh my goodness." I've never heard anybody say that about a Syd recording ever. And what happened was, I can't even remember exactly what I said, but again it was pointing back towards our true nature: Who we really are; that spiritual essence that's within each and every one of us. And in pointing everybody back towards that place, there was a calm that came back again because what they saw was that we're pointing beyond religion. We're pointing beyond any one man whether it was Jesus or Muhammad or whoever they chose to look at, it was looking beyond that. And I don't think any of the women had ever seen that; they hadn't looked beyond their religion before; they hadn't looked beyond the spiritual commonality between every person.
And what started off as, I say, a disparate group of mothers who were coming together because of their physical... geographical location, that by the end of that program, they had such an awareness and a respect and a love for each other. It went far beyond anything that they'd seen before. And it had an impact on their children and how their children played together as well when they're in the children's center because they saw their mothers interacting just differently with women from different ethnic and religious backgrounds as well. And that was just wonderful to see, that was just amazing to see.