Now I can see the moon.”
By Mizuta Masahide
This fantastic haiku, written by the Japanese Zen monk and samurai of the 17 century, Mizuta Masahide, offers with such simplicity the perspective we hear in many wisdom traditions: life works. In all moments, in all things, there inherently exists a flow, a perfection, a doorway to a deeper grace. One thing burns, another emerges. Okay, we get the idea.
However it does not feel as if life is working right now. There clearly is no bright and hopeful moon, no healing light beaming upon us. Or is there? If there be one, perhaps she is a tiny sliver. I choose to believe that she is there, behind the clouds of our fear and anxiety.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (hold on, here comes the g__word, prepare to substitute), says, “Either God is everything or God is nothing.” Grace infuses all. It’s easy to imagine that grace infuses some things. Puppies and sunsets come to mind and heart. Would this life force just be in some things and not in all things? That doesn’t make sense.
As I’ve confessed in previous blogs, I am an unscholarly Jew, so forgive the limitations I bring to this explanation: the Shema, the cornerstone prayer of Judaism, proclaims, “The Lord is One”. In my world, I pour this prayer into my body in the mornings, remembering that all things in that yet-to-unfold day are grace-filled, coming to heal me and grow me, no matter if I like them or not.
Okay, this is all good—we get it. Life works. However often great suffering emerges when transformation begins peeling away at reality. The damn barn has burned. We sit in this time of grave national and international crisis with an inexperienced president elect who unleashed and unearthed hatred, exclusion, and vitriol throughout our country. How do we live in the paradox, the contradiction between the philosophical and spiritual truth that it’s all going to eventually work, and the horrid dread that some of us are feeling?
Let’s consider the idea of spiritual activism. Moving from a place of spiritual connection within yourself, what practices might you draw upon? How might you, how might I make our way forward through this time of great division and fear? Here are a few potential options to explore:
- Committing to self-care—if ever there were a time to attend to the pillars of self-balance, friends, this is it. Within the arenas of nutrition, movement, stress reduction and sleep, how do you intend to practice balance? What is one kindness you choose to give yourself this week? If not now, when?
- Allowing your feelings—the way through the feelings is through. Breathe, relax, and notice. Feelings will change as we allow them to come and go. They are not the problem; what we do to try to control the feelings becomes the problem, the obstacles to release, integration and effectiveness.
- Leaning toward kindness—do a few kind, tiny and anonymous thing for others. Notice how it feels. In this cycle of giving and receiving, all are healed.
- Taking actions to create the world you want—what might this look like? Donate? Volunteer at a local shelter? Study?
- Considering your choices—do a little journaling. Use this prompt and keep writing for a few minutes. If you get stuck, just repeat the prompt. Receive this communication rather than generate it:
- Who I choose to be in this is _______________
I choose to be part of the solution. I choose to become more of who I really am in the face of this. I choose to find ways, unknown to me right now, to lean toward and work toward inclusivity and justice. I choose to be a vessel of kind compassion. I choose to live with my fear, and keep moving toward connection anyway. I choose to imagine that the best will eventually (there’s that damn word again) unfold, that kindness and love with be our inheritance. I choose to believe in the best in you, the best in me and the best in us, all.
And you? What do you choose? Dear Readers, in this, even in this, who are you? How can we alone and together find our way? Please keep in touch.