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A Heart of Gold - Gabriel Kronenfeld

- Gabriel, I first heard of you from your adoring grandmother when you were just 11 years old.
From the amazing things she was telling me about you, I knew immediately that you were an old
soul, wise beyond your years. Meeting you now, at 23, I can tell you also have a heart of gold.
This is why I have no hesitation in starting with a heavy question: How does the word “love”
inspire that innate presence within you, your soul?

- The answer is quite complicated but simple as well. I feel the word love is very powerful as it
can represent many aspects in our lives. Love is something one creates through bonds with
people significant to them. Love is also passion and motivation, a hobby, a profession,
something that makes us tranquil. Love is something one creates an attachment to, a movie, a
singer, or even food. Love is a word we use to encompass all the things that I believe make us a
unique individual. Our variations in what we love is what makes us so different from one another
but ironically something that also brings people together. For me personally, the word love is an
umbrella term for all things that make me who I am. Since I was young and as I was growing up,
I always sensed this deeper dimension within me, more than the material world, and more than
what the average person wants. I realized that there is a deeper aspect to each of us as
individuals, something we hide with a wall, something we believe makes us weak if we were to
share. But it has been my journey to interact with every individual to that deeper level because
only then can I know another person. Whether it’s remembering my school janitor's name and
saying good morning every morning, or helping that student who was struggling but never asked
for help, it was always my mission to interact with individuals in ways others don’t, this way you
break the wall and really see people for who they are. Due to the world we live in, our ego tends
to overtake the innocent, loving, happy child that once existed for each of us, and this ego is
what separates and divides us all. I want to do my best to show people that ego is not healthy,
that we are one and the same no matter who you are. Interacting with individuals and focusing
on nothing else but the fact that they are just a person as you are brings to me another
dimension of communication, a world of colours and personality. Something I strive for is to
show humanity how that can change our lives from the levels of basic interaction.

- Embodying the true spirit of generosity, you donated a pair of clothes to each child at an
orphanage in Romania as well as a pizza lunch and handed it out personally; you volunteer
regularly to feed the homeless in Toronto; you tutor for free students that are struggling…Your
empathy, compassion, your desire to contribute positively to the world are traits that are often
associated with lightworkers. How does bringing light to others influence your life?

- Coming from a prosperous family and not really wanting much since I never missed anything, I
always had this pit in my stomach. I have always felt that, wealthy or not, we live in a very
superficial society and that I am not fulfilling anything for the greater good. I always disliked the
reality of the major split in income within society. It hurt my heart thinking that out there in this
world there are people who struggle, struggle to a point where it is just not fair. Why can I go
buy the newest video game at my leisure when there are people who can’t afford dinner tonight,
can’t get through their program because they need some extra help, why are there kids who
don’t get a kiss goodnight and have parents who abandoned them? I decided that I have to
make a change to the degree best suited for me. I can’t change lives to the level I would want
but with whatever little things I can do, it's better than doing nothing. With this I began to
volunteer in society, help those in need, make a difference regardless of how big or how small. I
will never forget how, when I handed out clothing and pizza to the little children in the orphanage
in Romania, the smiles, the laughs, the gratefulness that these children had for the most
insignificant items to you and me, I just felt that there is nothing more rewarding in this world.
Giving a hug to these children, to show some love, feel some warmth, know that someone
cares, that’s all they want. They want something, need something so basic, and on the contrary
the average person still finds something to complain about. I feel that every person, regardless
of their position, takes something for granted and I promise, there is someone out there that
wishes to have what you have. Helping others, bringing smiles on people’s faces, and hearing
thank you is more rewarding than anything else I can do in this world. I feel so complete and
useful to the world knowing I made someone's hard life just a little better. It doesn't matter who
they are and what position they have, everyone deserves a little love and attention, and I
realized so little of an effort for me can really make a difference to someone else.

- You are an eminent university student with an exceptional commitment to excellence, walking
on the noble path of becoming a doctor. I can’t think of a better career choice for you! Have you
found any connections between your academic field of study and your spiritual dimension?

- I absolutely have. I realized that medicine is only half the fight for any person. Belief, faith, and
having a higher being to turn to for support either daily or just in desperate times is enough to
provide an individual with the aspiration they need to fight through something. I find that for
someone who believes in miracles, a higher being, the unknown, whatever it might be, that
belief allows our bodies to fight as well, it augments and works side by side with medicine itself.
The strongest combination is faith and medicine. Medicine alone is not always enough, and
even when it is, faith is something that keeps us fighting regardless of what situations we may
encounter. I myself an individual of science have come to the realization that everything in this
world is too perfect, that the way our bodies work, the way Earth sustains itself, the way the
universe floats, and all of these mysterious but perfect things were curated by someone or
something. This is why faith, believing in that greater thing, regardless of your religion, is vital to
us as human beings, it's just a part of helping us get through the good and the bad times, letting
us know that there may be hope, knowing we are being watched over, knowing that ray of light
might shine on me when I need it.

- How beautiful! Science and spirituality, though, are two realms of understanding that a lot of
people unfortunately perceive as incompatible.

- I completely agree, there is definitely a stereotype amongst society that they have to side with
one or the other. The truth is understanding that the two work together, even at a biological
level. Research has shown over the years that we have areas of the brain that are not
exclusively but still highly involved in religion as well as belief. To better understand why we
have these regions we need to realize that these areas are also tied with extreme pleasure and
the release of dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter aside from its many other functions.
This means that religion itself can cause someone to feel happy and good by itself. Many
people turn to other activities to achieve this same feeling but what is incredible is that it is
attainable through belief and prayers. It is quite remarkable and we still do not know much but to
those who feel that science and spirituality are on opposite sides of the spectrum I ask, how can
you explain how life and the universe exist without one or the other? For those who argue that
one requires evidence to believe they don’t understand the doctrine of religion. It's believing,
that’s the point, believing it's true and letting it guide you. If we had answers then there would be
nothing to believe in, no one prays to a book of evidence, a textbook, or a research paper. It is
quite the possibility that humankind was also created with the mental boundaries to even
comprehend the higher worlds, maintaining itself as a faith. If we knew everything then people
would believe due to the wrong reasons.

- You are an unstoppable force for good and an inspiration for the young generation. What words
of advice do you have for young people in terms of personal growth and living a fulfilled life?

- My advice to the younger generation is to find your passion, find what you love, do what makes
you happy. When you are happy and doing what you enjoy, living your life freely, living with no
fear of other people’s thoughts and judgements, and just focusing on making yourself happy,
that’s when the natural urge to help others kicks in. Once you realize how fulfilled and different
you are from others because you view the world with only a positive lens, you realize any
inconvenience can’t knock you down; when you look at the rainy sky but still see the sun behind
it, that is when you realize positivity is contagious, a way of life you wish for everyone. You
naturally want others to feel like you do, or at least marginally make their day better, because a
world of smiles and kindness is what makes you want to get out of bed and interact with others.
Your profession does not matter, who you are with does not matter, where you are from does
not matter, your degree does not matter, all that matters is we respect and help one another,
and this is when the doors to more opportunities arise and you will live fulfilled every day of your
life. Once you are happy and know how to love yourself, that’s when you can spread joy and
make the world a better place. A positive life perspective comes with benefits people wish they
could pay for, but something so precious can only be attained through mindfulness and a good
spirit. Be positive, stay happy, be motivated, and remember that there’s a reason you are here,
make it worth it, it's worth it.

- Wow! What depth of wisdom at your young age! It was wonderful talking to you, Gabriel. I know
your kindness and humility have a profound impact on every life you touch. You are undoubtedly
destined for greatness and I wish you every success for the future!

- Thank you so much for interviewing me, Danuta! I really enjoyed sharing whatever I can
because changing just one person’s life with the article is more than what I can ask for. I wish
you and all the readers all the best, to stay positive and grateful!

by Danuta Gherman, Toronto

Danuta Gherman    2/1/2024


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