“For me the shift is away from the idea of love as a feeling to the sense of love as an action, love as something that I have to do rather than something that I could get by with just feeling. I had to be transformed in my actions towards others and the world.”
– bell hooks
I thought I was going to sit down today to write about the dangers of granting autocratic power of endless war, and the implications of unannounced police invasion of people’s homes and what this means to me as a magical practitioner, citizen, and member of the cosmos…
But before I could get up on my high horse and ride, this message came through: “Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Call back your energy. Continue with prayer, with practice, with opening to knowledge.” It was one of those that I clearly needed to post, because someone out there needed to read it. So I did. Within seconds, the responses began on Facebook and the message was resent on Twitter. Right. What does this tell me?
This tells me that it is a good thing that, despite a head cold, I did some yoga, breath and energy practice, soul alignment and centering this morning, because this arranged a field of stillness and silence within me, despite the ongoing troubles in government and the world. It tells me that listening is the precursor to right speech. Always. Now, my rational brain wants me to strike out that “always” word because surely sometimes the right words come off the top of one’s head, in the heat of the moment, on the fly. Then I put the word back, and am reminded that when the right words come in those situations it is because listening is happening in an even deeper form: there is connection between you and the other person, there is a conduit from your God Soul to your mouth, something bypasses the need to carefully craft words because your energy field has been present, listening, and now you can simply speak.
While riding public transit Saturday, en route to an appointment after sitting zazen for two hours with my Buddhist brother and his cohort, I sat next to a man on his way to work. We began one of those random conversations that sometimes happen with strangers. At one point he said, “The world will be safer now that bin Laden is dead.” Fresh from three rounds on the cushion, I was able to immediately reply, “Until humans change ourselves, someone else will always arise.” Listening and presence. Presence and listening. The power of silence within me was able to speak. To connect.
So in a strange way, in these times in which so many of us are troubled – out of work, struggling, bereft, angry, heartsore, tired – the message that came through this morning was exactly the right response even to the things I wanted to write about. The topics of endless war on terror with the rights of a sovereign monarch to be given to an elected official, and the rights of police to enter your home with no cause but their own decision, all can be faced somehow. We face them first from forgiveness: we all know what it is like to feel impotent in the face of injustice, and we also know what it is like to feel fear. Next comes the calling back of our energy: as long as we give so much over to worry, to rage, to circular talking about world’s ills or governmental transgression, we don’t have the proper energy left to act when necessary, and to create the beauty needed by our souls. Then comes prayer, practice, and opening to knowledge. These help us to grow into our best selves. They offer us aid from our altars, our meditations, and our Gods. We will not simply think, awash in a sea of information, but we will deepen and come to know. We will connect to each other in ways that are just right, finding effective action and speech rising naturally from the core of our beings.
We can offer each other hope. Hope starts with stillness, then connection, and then moves to speech or action. I wish to remember that ordering of things which brings me back to a place where love can become like a radiant sun. We do not have to court disconnection, we can court that radiance instead. We can be of help to ourselves and to each other. We can begin to change the world.