And I think being human is about being in the right kind of relationships. I think being human is a process. It’s not something that we just are born with. We actually learn to celebrate our connection, learn to celebrate our love. And the thing about it — if you suffer, it does not imply love. But if you love, it does imply suffering. So part of the thing that I think what being human means to love and to suffer, to suffer with, though, compassion, not to suffer against. So to have a space big enough to suffer with. And if we can hold that space big enough, we also have joy and fun even as we suffer. And suffering will no longer divide us. And to me, that’s sort of the human journey.
~ john a. powell
I was invited to facilitate a dharma discussion for my root sangha to address the wellspring of emotions and concerns members have expressed following the tragedy in Charleston last week. Drawing on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, I entitled the talk “Good Spiritual Friends: Taking Care of Ourselves & One Another in the Face of Racism, Bias, & Injustice” and asked that we actively investigate our own perceptions, intentions and behaviors as we reflect on how to apply and cultivate the dharma in response to such devastation. We expressed our confusion, anger, shame, fear, helplessness, outrage. We cried. We breathed. We sat with our discomfort.
I asked that we continue to find refuge in practices that help to nourish and ground us as well as those that illuminate unskilfulness, awaken clear comprehension, and inspire compassionate actions.
That sweet space of refuge is fleeting: Our hearts burst open with the victory of the Marriage Equality Act last Friday. Then they are crushed once more with every church that goes up in flames at the hands of racist terrorists.
For sanity and nourishment, I am mindful about what I consume–attempting to combat this madness by sharing this dose of sustenance (clear, compassionate understanding) for the mind and soul.
Hear Here: john a powell ~ Opening the Question of Race to the Question of Belonging