Continue To Move On

A few months ago while visiting Cambodia I spoke with career UN diplomat, His Excellency Davidson L Hepburn. Having absolutely zero political experience I was curious and hopeful that he might shed some light on what is currently happening in the world and whether or not he was still optimistic.

“There are many answers to this question but I feel strongly that we spend a lot of time in talking about the bad things that are happening in our lives instead of talking about the good things.”

Ambassador Hepburn doesn’t suggest that we push negative thoughts into the background. “You need to have them in the foreground so that people will know that there are good things and evil things in the world.”

“But I feel that if we make up our minds to what we are doing here. This meditation group is the answer to all the problems that we have. I am impressed that you all are so dedicated to this. You can’t concentrate a great deal on the evil that is happening in the world. It is not going to stop. You have to continue what you are doing. It is very good. In that way you counteract the evil that is happening.”

When asked if he can detect progress in the world. “I don’t think it is possible for us to determine the degree of progress that we have made in achieving peace.   I feel we have to look at this step by step.”

Ambassador Hepburn told a cute story. “I asked a little girl, what was peace, and she said, peace is when I am fighting with my sister. That to me made a great deal of sense. Because once you have got this thing out of you, you have communicated it in a way. You are then able to go on to the next step.”

“You can’t concentrate on the bad things. If you are going to concentrate on anything then you should concentrate on the good things. That will then pacify your concerns about the evil that is in the world.”

“When I walk around here, (Siem Reap Cambodia) when I see what is going on. I don’t understand the people. I don’t understand the culture, but I do see, what I consider to be a great deal of suffering and pain. But these people don’t seem to be dwelling on that.”

“They go along with their lives. They try to make it work, as effectively as they possibly can. The moment you slink off into a corner, and concentrate on the negative things that are happening. The worse it is going to be.”

“No matter how bad it gets you should be concentrating on what’s good. When I leave here, what I do is concentrate on this mediation group. You can’t imagine what help, what kind of assistance, what kind of joy I get from being a part of this.”

He recalls Sri Chinmoy once saying, “you must continue to go on. Success is ahead of you, and if you give up before you reach the end than you are going to be losing out on what might have happened.”

Ambassador Hepburn then gave reference to his long friendship with Adhiratha. How he never gave up on him. “I think that says a lot for the kind of thing that I think we should be doing in our lives.   To continue to press on with what we have in ourselves.”

He speaks about the very close and brotherly relationship that he maintained with Sri Chinmoy over the years. “He was able to do so many different things with his life and that emanated from him.”

“He made you feel as though you were part of this. My concern always is that when I leave being with the meditation group (Return to the Bahamas). Whether or not I will be able to have this experience continue with me.”

Ambassador Hepburn is 85 years old and is still maintaining a busy schedule. I asked whether he agreed with Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy about no retirement. “Of course there isn’t. That is the whole point.”

“I think if you are talking about peace continuing, if you give up by believing that you have accomplished just what you have worked for. Then that is the wrong way to look at it.”

“I think you should continue to build on whatever you have done. Once you have stopped then you have defeated the purpose.”

As for the future, “I try and not set a benchmark. My goal is to continue to do what I am doing and to see what benefit I can get out of it for others. Not for me.”

“But it is very difficult when you look what is happening around you and see that you are faced with so many trials and tribulations. You can easily wonder, what in the world am I doing this for. But that is when you fight.   That is when you continue to move on.”

Currently Ambassador Hepburn is trying to set up an institute for International Relations. “All I want to do is bring people together. And this is what I think the meditation group is doing.”

“This mediation group consists of over 100 countries who get together to try and bring about a kind of love that is lasting. That is never going to fade away. Some of us may fall by the wayside but you can rest assured that the foundation has been laid. That is what I think is so very important. “

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There is a saying in the Sanskrit scriptures: Charai veti, ‘Move on, move on!’ This was the realisation of our Vedic seers. If you don’t move on, you will be caught by ignorance. So always be alert, cautious and careful, and move on, move on, move on. If you move on, one day you will reach the Goal, where ignorance will not dare to touch you.”

30 July 1974

Sri Chinmoy, The ambition-deer, Agni Press, 1974

*Dr. Davidson Hepburn was the President of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural  Organization (UNESCO) 35th Governing Council (2009 -2011).  During that time he encouraged many to visit World Heritage sites around world.  He explained why in messages he sent to the Sri Chinmoy Oneness- Home World Harmony and Peace Runs which he has experienced in his native Bahamas, Kazakhstan, Malta and other locations

*”I was delighted to see the Run visit a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites… drawing attention to the efforts of the international community to protect so many cultures around the world.  Initiatives such as the …Run contribute significantly to the realisation of one of UNESCO’s principal mandates: mutual understanding and our shared determination to build and strengthen a culture of peace and harmony”  See the full video message from UNESCO with sub titles in 25 languages for the 25th anniversary of the runs at http://www.worldharmonyrun.org/25.html

* Dr. Hepburn showed his continued commitment in 2018 as he personally visited the Angkor World Heritage sites in Siem Reap Cambodia with many members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home international torch relay teams from around the world. Also part of the tour were many longtime friends from the Peace Meditation at the UN from when Davidson Hepburn was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of his country during the 1970s and 80s (a decade) at the UN in NY. It was where he first became friends with Sri Chinmoy.

 

Visiting at Angkor Wat temple

Visiting with Monks in Cambodia