healthcare…

a healthy and happy life should not be a privilege given only to a few, whether based on wealth or some distinction declared by temporary gatekeepers of some temporary political power.
it is abundantly clear that the current Republican Administration and Congress are not pro life in any authentic turning of the phrase.
your power is your voice and your actions. may they be heard and seen. ~j CALL your senators about #AHCA. (202) 224-3121. #healthcare
#empathy #compassion #courage #MeditateAndResist #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #TheResistance #AHCA

know who you are…

in the thick of things, the darkness and difficulty, don’t forget who you are. you are Love, luminous and open.meet life with empathy, with compassion, and the steady, purposeful, and unshakable strength that comes from being grounded in Love.

~j
[…if you want a master class in what happens when we allow our wounds to close up and drag us into a bitter anger, and then what happens when this is met with empathy, compassion, and courage, watch the end scenes of Moana. be a healer. meet life with empathy, compassion and courage grounded in Love.]

may we be free of aggression and violence…

goodness, the violence. i don’t know the details, but may all be safe.

we must stand firm in our resolve to not succumb to aggression and violence as a resolution to even our most passionate disagreements. and we must avoid the temptation to quickly politicize and use aggression, violence, or any tragedy to advantage an agenda.

may we remember who we are, our interdependence. my we listen and try to get to the root of anger that it may be transformed and healed rather than transmitted, giving birth to more anger, aggression, and violence.

may we all be remedies to suffering, not causes.

~j
#interdependence #nonaggression #nonviolence #LoveWins #PlantingSeeds #TheLongArc #peace #TheResistance #MeditateAndResist #TheMettaGarden

cannot stop the Spring…

 

You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
~ Pablo Neruda

friends ~
love is the spring.  your open heart and your love, have the power to awaken this world.  so, center yourself in openness and love no matter the outside forces, moving forward with empathy and compassion, working to lessen the suffering in the world.
~j

always…

 

our path is to contribute to the work of love, in smalls ways and large, planting seeds for the long arc.  we can take heart in our work, knowing that even as we face what seems an overwhelming darkness at times, even the tiniest of light brings hope.  after winter there is spring, after night there is the dawn.

~j
05.21.17

the true enemy…

The other person is not our enemy.
Our enemies are misunderstanding,
discrimination, violence, hatred,
and anger.
~
Thich Nhat Hanh

I love this teaching.  It is deceptively challenging.  On the face of it, most would probably agree (though some may not).  However, when put into practice, I think most of us will find we fall short of honoring these wise words.

In a time such as now, when so much feels at stake and emotions are heightened (and for good reason), the easier path is to assign blame to one person or a group of people and go in for the kill.  It is easier to have a face to direct our anger, our grief, our confusion.  It even feels good!  However good this feels in the short term, and however much it may motivate and seem to contribute to a resolution, in the long run it remains a delusion and contributes to cyclical suffering, fueling the very enemies we are working to defeat.

We will only be successful in our struggle, in this movement, when our motivation to act is fueled by a fierce compassion, born of a love that seeks the end of suffering for all beings, even those who act in harmful ways and contribute to the suffering we are fighting to liberate from.

This is the challenge of our time.  In an era where we seek targets to blame and scapegoats for our suffering, can we with fierce compassion, work for the very solid cause of defeating fascism, defeating racism, defeating homophobia and transphobia, defeating policies that dismiss the poor, the sick, the elderly?  Can we do this without demonizing individuals, even as we tirelessly work for their removal from positions of power, and work against the harmful policies and suffering their ideology causes?  Buddhism and other contemplative practices say we can.  And in fact, when we do we are honoring our true nature and not adding to the suffering.  When we act out of fierce compassion, born from love, we upend the true enemies we seek to defeat: confusion, discrimination, violence, hatred, and anger.  And in doing so, we are planting seeds toward the long arc, contributing to the end of suffering for all people.  Then we are acting as bodhisattvas in this world.  And this world, especially now, needs as many bodhisattvas as it can get.

We begin with our own hearts.

~j
05.19.17

hold to the center…

A monk asked Xinghua Cunjiang, “What should one do when things come from every direction?”

The master said, “Hold to the center.”
The monk bowed.

The master then said, ” Yesterday, as I was on my way to a dinner in the village, I was caught in a sudden storm with heavy rain and violent wind, so I headed for an old shrine and found shelter.”

~ Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans,
trans. Thomas Yuho Kirchner

I read the above story in the latest edition of Tricycle Buddhist Review, from an essay written by Wendy Egyoku Nakao Roshi.  I was moved by this story and inspired to create the artwork above.

Where do you find your center?  What anchors you as the waves crash around and against you?  Where do you find your ease and calm as turbulent winds swirl around knocking you off balance?  How do you keep awareness focused, when distractions vie for your attention?

For me it is my meditation practice, it is nature, it is the tenderness of an open heart, it is love.   It is staying with all that is and bearing witness, anchored in my breath and them from a place of compassion, moving into some sort of action that feels beneficial, that hopefully serves love and light.

I suppose everyone’s center may be different.  It seems increasingly important to know what it is.  There seem to be some who are intent on knocking us off balance repeatedly, wearing us out.  But what they have forgotten, or may not be aware of, is that there is a place for each of us where we can find our balance, our focus, and a calm resolve to stick with it for the long arc.

~j
05.11.17