#marchmindfulness2017 | on women cultivating community rooted in liberation

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“As women, we have been taught to either ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between and individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist. Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.3jewels-lordequote2

For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”  Audre Lorde


Read the entire essay:
The Master’s Tool Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House

on refuge + resistance | surviving to sustain skillful action

Revolution is not a one-time event.
It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity
to make a genuine change in established, outgrown responses;
for instance, it is learning to address each other’s difference with respect.
We share a common interest, survival, and it cannot be pursued in isolation
from others simply because their differences make us uncomfortable.

We know what it is to be lied to.
The 60s should [have taught] us how important it is not to lie to ourselves.
Not to believe that revolution is a one-time event,
or something that happens around us
rather than inside of us.
Not to believe that freedom can belong to any one group of us
without others also being free.
How important it is not to allow even our leaders to define us to ourselves,
or to define our sources of power to us…

Each one of us must look clearly and closely
at the genuine particulars (conditions) of his or her life
and decide where action and energy is needed
and where it can be effective.
~ Audre Lorde

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Post-Women’s March Deep Refuge + Restoration Circle
yesterday, we marched.
today we rest, take deep refuge and restore ourselves in the full embrace of sangha
to rise up and take action again.
~t. scott-miller


sangha study schedule

Join us in February, as we complete our three-month journey along the Noble Eightfold Path with a study the faculties of Skillful Effort, Skillful Mindfulness, and Skillful Concentration. The following month, we’ll deepen our contemplation of Justice, Liberation, and Healing — the focus of our annual call-to-action, March Mindfulness — and close out our winter series with a special full-day workshop on the topic on 3/19. View: Upcoming Practice Dates.

the eightfold path: on skillful speech, skillful action + skillful livelihood

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Sangha is studying how we “live into community” and the purpose of gathering as spiritual friends to build our capacity for skillfulness and resilience. To that end, we’re contemplating the Eightfold Path as a set of embodied practices that help us develop wisdom, ethical action, and various faculties that support our meditation.

The Eightfold Path is the fourth of the 4 Noble Truths:

There is Suffering.
There are Causes of Suffering (craving/attachment).
There is an End of Suffering.
The Noble Path is the End of Suffering.


The wisdom pair of Skillful Understanding and Skillful Thinking carries us to gates of the three ethical actions where we may examine how silence and discernment give shape and dimension to:

Skillful Speech — What we choose to say, how we choose to say it, and when we choose to say it. Speech is a form of action (the cause of karma) that is fueled by the quality of our understanding, thinking and intentions. It may be guided by factors that create a more skillful impact (the effect of karma) in the world.*

*(I use world here to encompass our daily encounters with people, places, and all manner of things.)

Skillful Action — How we choose to respond to the world as embodied in our conduct (direct/indirect; personal/interpersonal; private/public). The behaviors/activities we engage in and abstain from that reflect the quality of our understanding, thinking, and intentions.

Skillful Livelihood — I am compelled to expand livelihood beyond its common denotation as the work we do to earn a living. This is also coupled with a desire to suss out the snares of privilege and shame that arise when we narrow in on ethical employment without considering socio-cultural and economic factors that influence where and how we work. Looking deeply at the root meaning of the word itself unearths a broad view of how we cultivate our “way of life” and includes all the choices/actions we make to nourish and sustain a sense of living well (values, interests, experiences and relationships). Our livelihood then reflects and is informed by the quality of our understanding, thinking, intentions and actions.

Our contemplation draws on Audre Lorde’s essay, The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action:

What is the quality and impact of our silence?
Where does our silence show up as fear or avoidance?
When can it cause harm?  When can it be a tool for healing? 

Where can it be shaped into a tool of resistance — a healthy boundary to guard against toxic communication?  A way of standing in our commitment to non-violent, compassionate action?
In what ways do we use meditation and practices of discernment as skillful means to transform silence into skillful speech and skillful action?



other liberating actions of the eightfold path

on skillful understanding + skillful thinking
on skillful effort, skillful mindfulness + skillful concentration

 

on the dharma shelf | “the transformation of silence into language + action”

“Each of us is here now because in one way or another we share a commitment to language and to the power of language, and to the reclaiming of language which has been made to work against us. In the transformation of silence into language and action, it is vitally necessary for each one of us to establish or examine her function in that transformation and to recognize her role as vital within that transformation.”

“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.

The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence.

And there are so many silences to be broken.”

~ Audre Lorde, The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action

I cannot think of a reading that is more aligned with Sangha’s study of Skillful Speech, Skillful Action, Skillful Livelihood. This trio of ethical actions on the Noble Eightfold Path holds deep resonance with our commitment to living into community where inclusion and liberation are seeded, watered and nourished!

Read the full essay (via Cal State @ San Marcos).
Look back at skillful understanding and skillful thinking and the qualities of skillful communication.