this is our starting point and the fruition of our practice. ultimately, we are waking up to what is already true, who we already are underneath all the layers of false sense of self, and all of the patterns and habits we use to protect and preserve that false sense of self. our practice is one of shedding all that is unnecessary, all that is untrue, revealing what we really are – open, tender, warm, and luminous.
i love the perspective of mystics, like St. Catherine of Siena. they see in a way that is far more vast, and far deeper than most of us. for them, there is no separation between the sacred and the mundane. from a Buddhist perspective, the underlying nature of all things is luminous, awake and spacious.
but how can we have a perspective that things are this way, when we see so much harm, so much cruelty, so much ugliness at times?
i would suggest that it is the very act of not recognizing things as sacred and luminous, which can be called ignorance, that propels the harm and cruelty we see. if we were to really see others as sacred, the environment as sacred, then maybe we would harm less, we’d care about the person going hungry, living without healthcare, or a home. we’d care about the environment and all the life that depends on it being healthy.
we can practice this perspective, through insight, by uprooting our ignorance and the destructive patterns of attachment and aversion that arise from it. meditation can give us the time and space to practice this.
a year into this pandemic, we have now surpassed this grim number, 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. the highest of any nation on earth, more lives lost than in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam combined.
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, friends…all lives that loved and were loved, who had dreams, goals, wishes, regrets, and prayers…
please do not become numb to the loss of life, to mass death and the toll it takes on individuals and to us as a community.
so many are tired and weary, this long year taking its toll, but for many moving on is impossible and moving forward, they will never be the same. there is a hole, a deep wound, worthy of our empathy, our compassion and care, our attention and honor.
i have known some who have lost their lives to this virus, and many who have lost family members and friends. this number represents real lives, lives that will be deeply missed.
life does move forward and we too will move forward, but let’s do so honoring those who are no longer present in this space and who will be missed. let’s do so by receiving the vaccine when it is our turn to do so, let’s do so by wearing our masks, and responsibly social distancing.