Incubator of compassionate action.

 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 


"All eternal questions have now become engineering problems." --Meghan O'Gieblyn

Rather curiously, theologians and engineers are holding identical questions today: free will, causality, consciousness, identity. All around us, machines are being programmed to behave like humans, but perhaps what's more revealing is that humans are being programmed to behave like machines. Or as T. S. Eliot nuanced many moons ago, "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

Starting just before 9/11, we are hosting a global, 21-day Interfaith Compassion Challenge -- to rekindle our innate wisdom. From Baha'i faith's emphasis on equality to Sikhism's practice of 'langaar' (offering a meal), the chanting in Sufism to sermon-less gatherings at Quaker churches. Atheism and secular ethics, too! Everyday, participants receive a prompt from a unique faith, with a reflective reading (head), a divine prayer (heart), and ideas for small acts (hands). Alongside sharing reflections with each other, we'll also convene for weekly calls with inspiring luminaries, poets, artists and mystics to collectively evoke the sacred in a way that ripples out into the world.

To join others from around the globe, and help co-create this field of compassion: RSVP for Interfaith Compassion Challenge.

Last year, more than two thousand of us came together from 85 countries! This year, along with 25+ partner organizations, we're doing it again. New this time, we'll also be experimenting with skilful uses of AI! Over the last couple months, our AI + Wisdom initiative has made remarkable strides -- now home to dozens of repositories of wisdom, including mindfulness teacher Sharon Salzberg, Vinoba Bhave (Gandhi's successor), Buddha at the Gas Pump podcast, and more! In the realm of AI advances, we're curious how artificial intelligence will align with collective heart intelligence? We don't know, but the Interfaith Challenge seems like a fitting space for such inquiries!

At an Awakin Circle this week, eight-year old Tanishi recalled asking her father, "Dad, how do we know that this is real? Could I just be dreaming you?" Life's eternal questions remain a profound mystery. Holding such unresolvable mysteries isn't a matter of the intellect, but a gravitational pull of an open heart. As Pierre de Chardin wrote, "Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire."

Thank you for holding the eternal questions.





Fifty years ago, a short Indian woman (Dipa Ma) told Sharon Salzberg, "You will teach one day." She retorted, "No I won't." After some debate, her teacher said: "You understand suffering -- that's why you should teach." She has been teaching since, and SharonBot has all her content that you can probe. Nina asked something you might not ask at a meditation retreat, :) "How do you make a souffle?" It was a vintage Sharon response! Plus: "What do you do when you're confused and have to make a decision?" "How do you let go of a friend?", "Respond in Chinese: how can I grow my heart?"

Being Gandhi's successor are tall shoes to fill, but Vinoba handled it with grace. Elders of the movement gifted us all Vinoba's books, and we put it into a VinobaBot where people are asking all kinds of queries like: can you share 3 bullet points around your life lessons? Isn't becoming a 'servant' demeaning? Describe your life in a poem. What are your views on scale? What about money? And a tricky one -- is there any selfless act if we feel good in giving?" Oh, and what do you think about Gandhi?

For almost thirty years, Rick's "BatGap" (Buddha at the Gas Pump) Community has been host to "stories of ordinary friends and neighbors experiencing spiritual awakenings." Now, all of that wisdom is available in an interactive BatGap Bot, and after a lifetime of asking questions to spiritual people, Rick threw in a curveball: "What would the Buddha think about this bot and about the possibility that the descendants of ChatGPT will lead to the extinction of humanity?" Here was the response. :)

Aidyn was quite practical in probing ServiceSpaceGPT, "Should I rent or buy?" The answer was radically different from ChatGPT. Bonnie tried to get AI to self-reflect: Does AI have consciousness? :) So many other examples, like "What should I do if my values don't align with my job?" Or the surprising reply that Rohit received: "Can you write a poem to a first grader about being mindful while playing computer games?"

As you can imagine, all kinds of fun. Try it out here. :)



ServiceSpace is a unique incubator of volunteer-run projects that nurture a culture of generosity. We believe that small acts of service can nurture a profound inner transformation that sustains external impact. To get involved, you can subscribe to our newsletters or create an account and complete our 3-step process to volunteer.