wishing everyone a beautiful #AutumnEquinox as we ease into the embrace of change, the inward looking that prepares for the Winter ahead, which all the while holds within it the hope of Spring.
today with equal parts light and dark, we recognize the balance and harmony that is within life. may we embrace the simplicity of such balance, may we be reminded of our interdependent relationship with all things, which itself embodies harmony.
today is #InternationalDayOfPeace.i thought about posting some pretty, peaceful image. people like that. but then i saw the infuriating photos of the Texas Border Patrol officers herding Haitian refugees like cattle, with one using what looks like the reins for his horse as a whip on the refugees and i decided to show what peace DOES NOT look like. is this how we are to treat people? with inhumanity? no.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 35-36, 40.
how can we take away anything other than immigrants and refugees being our neighbor in need?
i’m a Buddhist, but this is just a name, a label of my practice and approach to life, to suffering and the call the relieve and heal suffering in this world and life.i’m a Buddhist partly because Buddhist practice embodies this teaching of Jesus, whom i love and learn from.
if we don’t approve of what these images display, we must speak out. if you do approve of what these images display, take it up with Jesus.🙏🏻 ~j
The biggest thing in this world, bigger than the ocean and the sky, is your heart. ~ Do Hyun Choe
it’s really amazing, this heart. we got this, whatever it is, our hearts have the capacity to stay open and love, through the full range of what it is to be human, to be alive. may we know our love. ~j
control is an illusion anyway, even if it seems for a period of time to work, it eventually breaks down, and control can easily turn into aggression and oppression – how much harm is done in the process?
so we can practice being brave. we can step out of our comfort zones. we can love and do what we can, where we can, when we can, to bring some healing, happiness, and peace. and we can encourage – sometimes strongly encourage – others to do the same. ~j
through every up and down, every breath in and out, we keep remembering to love. and when we’ve noticed we’ve forgotten, we can remember to come back to love again, to choose love again, for ourselves, for others, for a world that needs to know love is here.it’s always here.
like so many, i remember where i was a n 9/11. i saw the second plane hit on live tv and then each tower fall. the images don’t go away. the sadness, the fear, the anger, so palpable.
nearly 3,000 people died that day. citizens like you and me just doing their work, heroic first responders running toward the danger and regular folks rising heroically to help. people who are missed and are loved.
in the two decades since, the death toll has risen to an estimated 900,000 people including our military, allied forces, opposition, contractors, and humanitarian aid workers. the largest numbers though are from civilians. i heard on the radio that there have been an estimated 30,000 suicides related to the events of 9/11 and the wars following. so much suffering.
following 9/11, i came across a book by Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. the book is titled, “Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism” which would then set me on a path i hadn’t expected.
with such suffering, we can feel helpless what to do. however, there is an opportunity in such moments. an opportunity to acknowledge our feelings, our sadness, our fear, our anger and allow them with an approach that is loving, gentle, and caretaking. we can offer ourselves loving kindness. wishing ourselves safety, health, happiness and ease. we can touch in on these feelings and recognize that others are experiencing them also. in our awareness we know others all around the world are going through experiences similar to ours and often worse. we can offer others the same lovingkindness – “may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you be at ease” or whatever phrases come to mind – “may you be held in love, may you be surrounded in friendship, may you be free from suffering.”
we can use our suffering as an opportunity to be kind to ourselves, to connect to others, to offer lovingkindness and healing to a world in need. it can be a way of honoring the lives lost. ~j
“A long time ago in China, a Zen student asked if any of the sages had ever fallen into hell. His teacher answered that they are the first to go there! The shocked student asked, ‘But if they are enlightened, why would they fall into hell?’ The teacher looked at the student and with a smile said, ‘If I didn’t fall into hell, how could I help you?’ Do you see what he is doing here? He completely reverses the student’s problem, saying this is not about the student’s idea of purity, but about helping and caring. That is what’s important. He’s saying that you have to get your hands dirty; you have to dig right in. Just as you are, without some special robe or degree or twenty years of meditation practice. Just as you are, you can help.”
~ Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara
from “Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life’s Challenges”
this isn’t an invitation for debate. i feel it necessary to share my thoughts and view. if you feel differently, so be it, i wish you well. 🙏🏻
the law recently passed in Texas and allowed to move forward by the US Supreme Court is abhorrent.
knowing the law is unconstitutional and unable to be enforced by the government, Texas has abdicated enforcement to the citizenry, pitting citizen against citizen, encouraging vigilantism and bounties. this is insidious, dark, dystopian ideology once again come to life. the result will be increased harm and suffering. i believe this is about power, fearmongering, and subjugation. this isn’t about valuing life. if it were, then Texas wouldn’t be fighting so hard against mask wearing during a pandemic, or completely undoing gun regulations.
for far too long the debate has been falsely framed as “pro-life or pro-choice.” it should be framed as “anti-choice or pro-choice.” there are many of us who deeply value life to a degree far greater than some who claim to be “pro-life” yet we are are pro-choice. why? because we believe the government shouldn’t be empowered to legislate and control an individual’s body in this way. if we believe the government should, then why just women? let’s be fair and require men who are co-creators in procreation to have vasectomies. when deemed by the government to be sufficiently mature and responsible enough to have and care for children, the vasectomy can be reversed. ridiculous? then we shouldn’t support it being done to women. be aware of hypocrisy and powers that yield it.
setting governmental authority aside, as individuals and as society, if we want to claim that we value life, then we need to take a deep and serious look at what that means. it cannot be just some lives and at certain times when we decide. we must include all life – the life of the immigrant and refugee, the life of the criminal on death row, the life of the poor, the sick, and yes even the life of animals. how can we say we value life and yet support factory farming or the consuming of animals when not necessary, or perpetuate war that isn’t necessary, or deny universal health-care, or promote capitalism to a degree that literally starves and kills other people? my guess is to one degree or another we all fall short on this list. at the very least, all of us in the US are participating in the harmful aspects of capitalism, and many of us are receiving the benefits in resources, while many around the world suffer because of it.
if our goal is love and compassion. then we have an obligation to be love and to be compassionate. we should do the best we can to support systems, structures and institutions that promote a life that supports life, and then trust our fellow humans to do the best that they can in their lives with their choices. but we shouldn’t pursue or support a government that uses its power in the way that we are seeing in Texas. we have a responsibility to speak out and publicly admonish what we are witnessing and then work to end the harm.
…We touch this truth: in the midst of our daily confusions, self-doubts, conflicts, and fears, we need support, reminders to trust in ourselves. We can trust. We were designed to journey through the full measure of beauty and sorrows in life and survive…The warrior in your heart says stand your ground. Feel the survival of a thousand years of ancestors in your muscles and your blood. You have all the support you need in your bones.~ Jack Kornfield
in our bones, in our open hearts, in the very fibers of our being.i need this reminder lately. i hope it resonates and is of benefit to you as well.~j