Interdependence, from MLK Jr to today…

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.

We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”


~ Martin Luther King, Jr


The quote above is one of the dearest for me in the pantheon of MLK Jr quotes.  So many of his words still reverberate with sharp wisdom and prophetic knowing.  But this one cuts to the heart of all of it.


A word not just at the core of Buddhist understanding of life, but of life itself.  Any close examination of life bears witness to it.  We are not who we are or where we are through any single doing of our own, but only through the generosity and service of so many who have contributed to the circumstances that find us who we are and where we are, some knowingly and some unknowingly.  And we too, each of us, play a vital part in others’ lives, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly.  Check out the film It’s A Wonderful Life to see a fictionalized version of this told for the holidays, or watch Back To The Future.

MLK Jr understood this, and understood this at the core of what brings us together – a mutual understanding that we NEED each other, that our every action influences and affects the lives of those around us sometime near and sometime far.  There is a ripple that plays out in ways we may never know.  Words matter.  Actions matter.  How we treat each other matters.

I’m a little late this week in writing a post about Martin Luther King, Jr, because I’ve been a bit stalled by illness.  But, the timing still seems right.  As we head toward the end of this week and the final day of President Barack Obama’s Presidency, the contrast between our current President and the President-Elect could not appear more stark to me in light of this quote.

Perhaps this is why I am most concerned.  While President Barack Obama is far from perfect and there will be criticism by some and debate about his Presidency, he has repeated time and again – even in the face of consistent and mean-spirited criticism – that he believes that deep down people are good and that with our work together, progress continues to move forward (sounding similar to another MLK Jr quote), often giving credit to the team around him for any successes that may have manifest.  By contrast, our President-Elect has built his campaign singling out individuals and groups with a level of public degradation, always surprising and at times alarming, all the while promoting himself as the only solution to America’s problems.

Life is interdependence.  No one does it alone.  Any honest examination, bears witness to this.  This isn’t opinion, it is fact and truth, even in a post-fact and post-truth “reality” celebrated and fueled by the President-Elect.  To not recognize interdependence is to not recognize life and this is the great danger to the success and livelihood of human society and perhaps life as we know it on earth.

As Martin Luther King, Jr states in the above quote, we aren’t going to have peace until we recognize this.

So, if this recognition doesn’t come from the top down, then we will live it from the bottom up.  We will stand, sit, march, sing, shout, write, and paint to bear witness to interdependence, to bear witness to life.

we are one…

let us continue to use our voices, our art, our power to shine light on that which is delusion, fear, division and hate – by offering up the opposite which is truth, wisdom, awareness, inclusion, and love to the altar of life ~j
One’s sense of separation – that I’m separate from you and the rest of the world, so my well-being is separate from yours – is the fundamental delusion that needs to be overcome…

When we feel a deeper connection with other people in the world, then naturally there’s going to be compassion and concern and wanting to live in a different kind of way. When this happens, the meaning of my life changes. Instead of thinking “What’s in this for me?” we find ourselves asking “What can I do to make this situation better for everyone?”

Sam Mowe

#interdependence #sangha #community #WeAreOne #One #empathy #compassion #truth #wisdom #life #meditation #enso #JMWart

words matter…

dear friends ~
i will repeat this until my dying breath Words Matter. our voice has tremendous power and where we lend our voice, the seeds we plant, can have immense implications. it is not beneficial to be careless. the misdirected fear, the unreasonable paranoia, and impassioned vitriol can cause harm and motivate violence. now is the time to stand up and shine a light on the dark that is ignorance, that is fear, that leads to hate and violence. a Muslim member of congress received a death threat. on Monday (you’ve probably seen this) a friend of a friend posted on FB that she was spat on by a man in a business suit while commuting. he yelled at her calling her a “sand n**ger” and told her she is the problem and she should get the f*ck out of his country. 
if you think the current talk and climate of fear has had nothing to do with this, i believe you are mistaken. you have the freedom of speech. use that freedom to lift and enlighten, to be of benefit, rather than adding to harm, aggression, and violence.
as a Buddhist i have taken a personal vow of non-harming, which even while impossible fulfill, i am committed to through practice of Right Speech and Right Action. i take this seriously, so i will not demonize those whom i believe are mistaken, who feel differently and may have become lost in the mire of fear and panic.
but i will speak up and stand with my Muslim brothers and sisters. i will stand with all Muslims whom i have worked with in the past and currently. i will stand with all Muslims whom i am grateful to call my friends and whose welfare i care about greatly, as i care for my Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, and Atheist brothers and sisters. why? because i remember that we are interdependent, because your heartbeat is my heartbeat, your breath is my breath.
i will share messages of unity and beauty – reminding you of who you are, of who we are. not this hyped up bullshit, but the stardust and ancient love that is you, that is me, that is us no matter our religious tradition.
and this first message, i am sharing?

it is my favorite poem, from my favorite poet. his name? Hafiz…a Muslim.

#StandingWithMuslims #WeAreOne #interdependence #RightSpeech #RightAction #unity #ShineYourLight #buddhist #bodhisattva #Hafiz

are we willing?

Are we willing to listen?

Are we willing to see?

Our response to suffering, whether in Nepal, or Baltimore, or the arguments presented to the Supreme Court on this day, reflects our humanity and our ability to look and listen beyond our own perspective and our own initial emotional responses, from a place that reflects our interdependence, our capacity for compassion, and service to the principle of alleviating this world from suffering from where we are in this moment, with what we have in this moment, and who we are in this moment.
#interdependence #compassion #WeAreOne #Presence #look #listen #serve #Nepal #Baltimore #Equality #wisdom #peace #Life #Love

Planetary, the film…


in honor of Earth Day and in celebration of this beautiful gift that is this planet I watched (and subsequently purchased) this exquisite movie and wholeheartedly recommend that watch it. you can rent rather than purchase 🙂

namaste ~j

#PlanetaryTheMovie #Planetary #Earth #Interdependence #WeAreOne #PlanetaryCollective