just give Love…

Give Love


whether or not

the noise fades


or the ego does

or doesn’t
lose its hold


just give Love


whether or not

the sun breaks through


or          it doesn’t

and you can’t help
but fold


just give Love


as it has been freely given

freely give


as it is the Source of Life

in loving          you fully live


give Love

 

~ j

saying “yes”…

Solidarity Thursdays
Thursday, January 3rd 2013

saying “yes”…

YesEnso

Happy New Year friends and welcome to my first blog for 2013 and the first coordinated blog of 2013 as part of our continuing series, Solidarity Thursdays.  I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to share space with Ben, Esther, and Zachary.

This week’s blog topic, appropriately, is “New Beginnings”.  Ironically, I have had quite a bit of difficulty…beginning.

You see, I find myself – my heart and mind – still bound up in 2012, at least where it has bled into 2013.  Try as I might, sitting in meditation, chanting “let go, let go”, I have discovered that even as I sit on that cushion I am harboring anger, frustration, and sadness over recent events.  I am grieving in empathy with the families of the numerous children so tragically taken from life.  I am grieving the ever increasing reaction we have to greet such horrific violence, with preparation to impart even more violence as a means to end violence.  And in this, I am not speaking of the families who were directly affected.  I would expect and understand such a reaction from such pain and suffering.  Ironically, most victims are not calling for what is being set forth.  A peripheral audience of opportunists, along with those guided by fear seems to be framing the discussion. I am grieving that politics can seemingly – so callously – ignore violence towards women or victims of Hurricane Sandy by not renewing The Violence Against Women Act or securing funds for these destitute people still without homes, still without assistance so long after the event.  I am grieving for our over-consumption of resources resulting in an increasingly fragile environment and increasing poor.  I am grieving that there is such continued imbalance of power, not through legitimate means, but instead through manipulation and dishonesty.  I am grieving that this is so often a cause for celebration, rather than a wake up call to compassionate change.

And in this grieving and attachment, I feel disconnected.  I feel disconnected to this world, where life is seen as so fragmented – where people entertain the idea of the “other” – where violence is seen as normal and in some cases even morally right and even a “necessary evil” – where for a matter of convenience we can look the other way, even as so many unnecessarily starve to death.  I grieve that I have played a part in this just as anyone else has.  I grieve, because Life itself is grieving. I grieve, because I am, indeed, connected to this world.  I grieve, because I so love the people in this world.  I grieve, because I long for people to stop and remember their nobility, their Divine Heritage as children of God, of Life, of Love – however you want to define or frame it.  We are better than the violence, we are better than the overconsumption, we are better than the indifference, and we are better than fear.

I remember, I read quite some time ago when I began my meditation practice – specifically Metta, or loving-kindness meditation and with it a practice called Tonglen – that it isn’t unusual for a practitioner to become more aware and in touch with sadness…because even in its joy and beauty, life is always tinged with what I would call a sacred sadness.  It isn’t just in Buddhism where this is recognized, just look to the artwork of Christianity where Jesus is depicted pointing to his exposed and Sacred Heart.  Or even to the story of the crucifixion itself, where it is implied that it wasn’t just the wounds but the great burden of carrying within himself the brokenness of life that extinguished his.  Loving until the heart itself breaks.  As our heart opens to the world, we begin to see and connect to the pain of the world – pain we have participated in and pain we have been victims of.  This coming of age to pain, this befriending of sadness, is an opportunity for compassion.

So I sat on the meditation cushion this very day, my breath interrupted by the thoughts listed above.  I sat, with my heart heavy, my emotions ready and raw.  And all I could do was what my practice continues to teach, what the Buddha taught 2500 years ago, and what Jesus encouraged with every person he encountered – begin anew.  Beginning anew – coming back to my breathing, connecting my mind with my body, and in doing so reminding myself to live as a Whole being, a being of compassion, a partner to Life, a child of Love.

And I was reminded what it means to begin anew.  It is our way of saying “yes” to Life with our life.  It is our way of aligning ourselves with Life itself, of saying we are not separate, rather we are partners.  It is our way of living Love, of acting with compassion.

It is a given that we need Life…but have you ever thought that Life, in fact, needs you?  That this may bring meaning to why you are still breathing?  That this may bring inspiration and motivation to why you are still here, to say in continuance – Yes, yes, and again, yes.

YESensos

We fall, we rise.  This is the pattern.  The New Year is a wonderful way to ritualize this, but then again, so is each breath that we take.

May this New Year be blessed with many new beginnings as our hearts continue to open to Life and in service to compassion.  Here is the blessing I shared on Facebook for New Years, may it be so:

“May you know your own beauty and sacredness just as you are. May you feel understood and valued. May you continue to learn, grow and open to all of what Life offers you. May you still experience peace when troubled, healing when wounded, patience when angered, and joy after sadness. And most of all, may you know that you are loved.”

Namasté

For more reading on this Solidarity Thursday topic, please check out these wonderful blogs: Ben at The Horizontalist, Esther at Church in the Canyon, and with a unique perspective, Triskaidekapod.

support networks…

Solidarity Thursday
Thursday, November 8, 2012

Today’s Solidarity Thursday blogging topic is “support networks”…which like most things for me, I see through a particularly spiritual lens. This is not to say that this lens is sans practicality. From my perspective spirituality is best when it is practical. It is not just sitting on a cushion or attending Sunday services. Spirituality IS feeding the poor, visiting the prisoner, working for peace, opening our door to our neighbor, and greeting the person working behind the counter with a smile and an open heart. It doesn’t seem to matter much if we can answer the big questions like – Why am I here? Is there life after death? Is there a God?” – if we are unable to feed the hungry next door, or properly take care of the earth, or even find peace in this moment. Perhaps they all go hand in hand. Perhaps as we practice at being kind and compassionate, mindful and awake, patient and open, we discover who we are and why we are here. Perhaps we find God within all of it – the joy and suffering. Perhaps if we are living life so fully in this moment, in love with one another, in love with life, then it doesn’t matter much if there is life after this.

Perhaps it does.

Whatever the case, walking this journey together is a gift. No matter how much we want to believe that we are completely self-reliant, that we can conquer and attain anything we set our minds to if we work hard enough…Life, fully and honestly lived, will humble us. We will face illness and loss, we will face death. And in those moments we will realize that having loved ones, family, friends – people who support us and hold us up, who care what we do and how we do it, people who feel our pain and seek our happiness – is a great part of what defines what this life is about.

Why is The Buddha so emphatic about this? Why does he correct Ananda with such clarity? Would you argue with Ananda on this point? It seems fair to say that good friendship is a “part” of life. The Buddha in his teachings seems to be pointing toward something greater though – to wholeness, to unity. It is, after all, our perceived separation and deep desire to avoid change that causes us to suffer so greatly. If we see ourselves as separate, then we grasp – we cling – we are unable to let go.

Life is letting go…and becoming aware that the nature of life is change, that the nature of life is us. There is no separation. Life is One, expressing Itself in all the beautiful diversity that you see in you, around you. All is gift.

For some reason, though, we need to learn this or perhaps re-remember this through first experiencing separation. Life is so often paradoxical. It seems we first need to learn duality and eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, before we can see through to the deeper unifying Reality, Wholeness that contains light and shadow. It seems we must first leave the Garden before returning to Paradise. We must fall, before we can rise above. We begin life within the body of our mothers. Living as one – eating as one, breathing as one. Doctors say we continue to feel as one with our mothers even after birth. Soon after though, we begin that very difficult journey of becoming aware of being other from our mothers, becoming aware of being separate. The best of religion, the truest of spirituality points us back to our Wholeness with all of Life…not just our mothers. And what is most fascinating and inspiring, is now science is showing us how this is true biologically, chemically, and atomically. All is gift.

It is like the Zen proverb says – first we notice the mirror clouded as it is, then we wipe the mirror and wipe the mirror, only to one day realize that there was never a mirror at all.

How do we learn this? Where do we learn life?

In our relationships. In community. In Sangha. Sangha is the Buddhist term for spiritual community. Isn’t all of this spiritual community? Aren’t we all one Body of Christ? Aren’t we all one expression of Life? I challenge you to find this out for yourself. In this One Body, this One Community, this One Life – we learn patience, we learn humility, we learn grace. In this Sangha, we are broken and our hearts are grown wide and spacious in their capacity to hold and let go in love. In this Body, we are wounded and healed, we die and are reborn. In this Life we don’t become Whole, we become aware that we are already Whole. All is gift.

Is there a better “support network” than that?

For more reading on this Solidarity Thursday topic, please check out these wonderful blogs: The Horizontalist and Church in the Canyon. And this week, joining us for the first time with a truly unique take on all things Solidarity Thursday is Triskaidekapod. Welcome!

September 11, 2012…

spent the evening watching 9/11 footage as i do every year on this day.

i find it incredible that 11 years later, the emotions that rise up from my chest – that turn my stomach – that tighten in my throat, can still be so present. and although the emotions of sadness and anger manifest their presence once again, i do not watch to give them life anew. i watch to remind myself. to remind myself that suffering not grieved, that anger not transformed, that bitterness unchecked – left in its darkened cave, grows into hate. and that hate when held onto, when taught and modeled, finds life in hopeless – desperate hearts. possibly giving birth for generations, slowly separating us from our humanity, from what is divine.

i also watch to remind myself of what it looks like to see such bravery in the face of horrific disaster and tragedy, to watch courage and compassion manifest as it did that day in the police and fire fighters, in doctors and nurses, in coworkers and friends. i watch to remind myself how a nation who can get lost in division, can all at once be unified in their grief, their desire to hold life, and in their humanity.

i know in my heart we are given all we need to heal, all we need to reconcile and restore. the solution is us. our hearts, our minds, our light, our love – together. in moments we see this and in the long arc of history i believe its thread is clear.

but there are dark moments, periods of time that can shake the heart, and i am left to wonder – have we learned?

wishing all of you, dear friends – relief from your suffering, happiness and peace.

namaste.
~ j

September 11, 2012

the role of suffering in awakening…

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
~ Carl Jung

this is the second time i’ve seen this Jung quote recently and its theme feels so present both on the micro level for my own journey and on the macro level in seeing the way the world is facing things regarding economics and the environment….all the while looking for quick ways to end the suffering without facing our own shadow’s relationship to this. i am reminded that “stuff” doesn’t just go away…it may be suppressed for a while, but it must rise and make itself known. when we do finally face it and recognize it and know it, then – then healing and transformation can take their rightful place.

namasté, friends ~ j

i see me…

 

how can i live
in this pain anymore?

my days
have been long filled
with hurt
with feelings of betrayal

and then
today
with a nudging from Life
our eyes met

looking deeply at you
truly, mindfully
seeing you
how can i be angry?

looking in your eyes i see
a child frightened, broken
desperately searching, seeking
longing to be understood

longing to know Love

i understand

looking in your eyes
i see me

i fade away…

 

it seems
that every morning a
soul-hungry-knife
waits, ready to
pick anew my wounded heart

i suppose i should thank it
and call it “friend”
keeping me from
closing up…
or off

to see you, the one, arrive each day
as two
brings the hurt back
even knowing you are not
mine to keep – to hold onto

this jealousy
as if there is such a thing
as “mine”
so ridiculous and seductive
the ego’s grasping

emotions
a whirling balloon on
restless wind
an uncaptained boat on
a raging sea

i cling to the Dharma

knowing
all will change
all will fade away
and yet in some way…
continue on

dying to my self
my ideas – my dreams
nothing to own – nothing to hold
of you and me
i fade

a lonely road
paved with wounds
watered with tears
tears giving life
sprouts of hope

a hope for a love complete
whatever that is…
i don’t know
i only know to hope for it
even as i know to breathe

even now
i hold you in my heart
so be well, dear friend
so be happy, dear love
and be at peace

for in my heart
you will remain
even as i fade away
and yet
continue on in some other way…