these past 4 years have grieved me, so much harm. these past 4 years, however, have also revealed a reservoir of resilience and a buoyancy that fuel me to persist. the work of compassion, fierce compassion, which is the embodiment of love is needed and called for during this pivotal time. the urgency of moral obligation to each other and our world, especially to life that has been marginalized, targeted, and oppressed, with racism, aggression, and violence, is a call we must answer.
hope is manifest through the work of people who refuse to stop loving, and refuse to be apathetic and indifferent to harm.
so love on, dear friends, have empathy and embody love with your compassion – and #VOTE. 🙏🏻
we have a moral obligation, a responsibility to each other, especially to those who are marginalized and targeted with oppression and aggression to not knowingly add to harm, to not knowingly align with harming.
be wary of any ideology or politics, where cruelty is practiced as a means to an end. the ends do not justify the such means. 🙏🏻
my heart remains open and free. when forces around us work to keep us closed and fearful, we can still be free. this open-heartedness, this freedom, is available to us and something we can practice. in fact, it is our superpower in the face of cruelty and harm. it is the very energy that keeps us connected and present to life, to bring healing and end suffering. ~j
“Recommendation” is one of my favorite poems by Thich Nhat Hanh. so relevant to our times and our place in all of this. Thay wrote this poem in 1965 while in Vietnam during the war, when everyday theirs lives were being risked as they served the people. Thay is so well celebrated for his teachings on mindfulness and interdependence, for his peace activism and engaged Buddhism. however, he is also a profound poet, and in his poetry he captures all of it – the dharma and his embodiment of the practice and the heart of peace and love. there’s a beautiful collection of his poetry titled, “Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh”
“Recommendation” Promise me, promise me this day, promise me now, while the sun is overhead exactly at the zenith,
promise me: Even as they strike you down with a mountain of hatred and violence; even as they step on you and crush you like a worm, even as they dismember and disembowel you, remember brother, remember: man is not our enemy.
The only thing worthy of you is compassion – invincible, limitless, unconditional. Hatred will never let you face the beast in man.
One day, when you face this beast alone with your courage intact, your eyes kind, untroubled (even as no one sees them), out of your smile will bloom a flower.
And those who love you will behold you across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.
Alone again, I will go on with bent head, knowing that love has become eternal. On the long, rough road the sun and moon will continue to shine.
i agree with the spirit of this. it’s kind of like “watch what people do not just what they say.” but i would alter this a bit. i think the duality and ranking of people as better or not better, distracts from the message, so i would say, “Your beliefs don’t necessarily make you more beneficial or less harmful to others, your behavior does.”
know the power you have with the words and actions you choose.
i do not oppose his ideology or philosophy because they are different from mine, or because i simply disagree with them.
i oppose both, because they have and continue to bring grave harm to the lives of others.
if i am awake to harm being done, do i actively choose to participate in it? do i ignore it, do i dismiss it? if i do, then i am still sleeping, while those who are being harmed live in a nightmare.
in Buddhism, the First Precept is to not kill, to not knowingly harm. if i am awake to harm, if i see or hear of harm, am i not participating in that harm in my silence, in my nonengagement, in my lack of action to end that harm?
we have a moral obligation to each other, to the harm and suffering we are bearing witness to.
we cannot sleep through this escalation in harm. we must wake up.