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

begin with silence…

 Silent Buddha

 

Saturday, July 13th 2013

 

in contemplation. in meditation.
within this sea of emotion where confusion and frustration ebbs and flows so easily
into suffering,
where institutions may fail and people may fall,
i will ride this wave with calm awareness that begins with…
 
silence
 
if i want to see Justice, i must first find it here
– within this heart.
a heart that decided a long time ago to commit itself
to integrity, to openness, to awareness, to kindness, to understanding, to faith, to compassion,
to love, to Life.
 
it is from this heart, our hearts
– hearts committed to forming a nonviolent world with our Love –
that we will tranform hearts and minds, institutions, nations, and the
 
world
 
~ j
 
 
“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of s…omeone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.”
~ Rachel Naomi Remen ~

a letter to Aurora…

a letter to Aurora…

to all those who are suffering from this horrific tragedy in Aurora, our prayers are with you. to all those who are suffering from their own personal tragedies in this life, our prayers are with you. we are connected in our suffering, in our pain, in our confusion as to how such violence can occur. we are connected in these dark moments of life, where our hearts break and our minds spin with emotion, we are connected in our sense of loss as life seems to have lost all that is good.

it is important to feel these emotions, to sit with these emotions. to be where we are at, to grieve. so many of us, in our confusion, our pain, our anger are running from this horrible event. it isn’t easy to sit with tragedy, to be awake with suffering. it is far easier (and even feels good to have some brief relief) to blame. to blame the existence of guns, to blame a broken system, to blame a single individual who has forgotten what it means to be human, to be connected in life and love. and there too, we connect. we connect into groups with missions and we feel some brief relief as we find a place to place our anger, our pain, our suffering…forgetting our truer connection, that we are One.

but there is another way we are connected. we are connected in our Light, in our Love, in Life.

so as we sit in this darkness, in this night of tragedy and pain, let us look to Aurora itself. Aurora means “dawn”…the coming of day. that sacred, beautiful time when the night moves from twilight to day.

there is pain here. there is confusion and anger. but, my friends, there is also hope. the day will come again and with it the sun, shining bright the light of love and life. the Light that lives in all of us – both passed and still present, and the Love that connects us – whether we have passed or are present, whatever may come.

wishing peace and freedom from suffering for us all.

namaste ~ j

Friday, July 20th 2012