Tag Archives: poetry

WHAT WOULD BUDDHA DO?

Interrelationship

You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy

Thich Nhat Hanh

I grew up around DC.  A Northern Virginia suburb that gave me the opportunity to be a part of a lot of protests- whether I was in them or knew about them, they were always there affecting the world around us.  When I worked in the district, we had to close our office on the day of the World Bank protests.  Once, my roommate was on a bus returning to our apartment in Adams Morgan and it was actually attacked by World Bank protesters.  And no, we were not in a third world country, we were in Washington DC.  My office would dread this day- when the world’s “trustafarians” would embark on the nation’s capital and protest policies that most had no concrete reason to protest other than to exercise their right to the expression of aggression over things that usually had nothing to do with what they were actually protesting.  I’m not saying that there are not reasons to protest- because I know there are a lot of policies in this world that don’t make any sense, and affect many people extremely negatively.  There are also people that seem to get away with everything, leaving those deeply affected behind, having to find some way to survive in this delusional desire realm we live in, we trudge along in every day.  If you look at history, the truth reveals itself.  Sit ins created change, peaceful marches on Washington during the Civil Rights Movement created change.

When the Occupy Movement began, I remember feeling somewhat grateful that people were out there making a statement about something they were really concerned about.  There were intelligent people out there really trying to make their voices heard about social problems that they felt could not just be swept under the rug.  There was a community starting where people were aligning with one another, and they did not feel so alone in their frustrations.  As our world is truly rooted in the “mind”, change is constant and with that change comes cycles in our collective consciousness.  Eventually, things cycle out and it is important for us to move with that change.

This blog post is a piece outing myself about protests.  Many people have called me a closet hippie, and I admit that I work hard to cover it up- believe me!  In my heart, I find that most protests are futile in nature and the most effective way to make change is by “being the change we wish to see in the world” as Gandhi once said.  I truly mean this, and although it may seem not concrete enough for most people, if we allow ourselves to be used as tools for a higher consciousness, and not only work on our own issues, but go out there and do things that really help people and create new policies that will affect those ineffective policies, then we can give an opportunity to others to grow and transform, and be provided for when they feel there is nothing left instead of fighting with stubborn egos.

We can utilize every opportunity we have to be kind and in our integrity in this life, and  affect the world to a much larger degree than mass organized protests.  Negotiation is key here- we must look at who we are dealing with in every situation, and analyze the most effective way to strategically work with someone based on their character traits and what they believe in.

The law of cause and effect is extremely important here and our actions are rooted in this principle.  If we push forward in anger and self righteousness, then that anger and self righteousness will push back because there is no separate self.  In this pushing and pulling nothing becomes settled and people walk away with more issues than they walked into the room with.  I remember being in high school and watching a documentary on LBJ and the protests outside of the White House during the Vietnam War.  There was a camera shot of him standing in the window looking out while mass protests shouted at him, “Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?”  And what did LBJ do?  He raised a flag of stubbornness rather than surrender,  and he continued on with his policies.  That picture sits in my mind so clearly and I only feel compassion for everyone involved.

Whenever you feel angry about someone’s policies or behaviors that cause more suffering in this world for others, remember what it would be like to be that person.  Be conscious of how they are creating more suffering for themselves, and in the end, their ignorance is winning in this life.  We have the greatest gift of free will to choose behavior that is not rooted in ignorance.  In the poem above by Thich Nhat Hanh, he says:

You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

To embrace the love within you is enough to change the world, and there is no protest that would ever change my connection to you, and vice versa.  Every seed we plant within ourselves is also planted in others around us.  I am grateful every day for the opportunity and choice that I have to live in a compassionate way and connect with others the way I would like to be treated.  When I think about my own ignorant behavior in this life, the one thing that helped me more than anything else was compassion and the willingness of another person to teach me by example rather than confrontation.

What did Siddhartha do when he saw the poverty and suffering in his city after sneaking out from his shielded reality?  He did everything he could to find enlightenment within himself so he could help ameliorate the suffering of everyone, including the poor people- and he was a prince.  His teachings are still relevant today, thousands of years later.

LAYERS OF RAINBOWS

There is neither here-
     nor there.
There is only that which is written in the soul.
  And,
      That is what you must share.

When I think about a “regular” day, it is easy for me to get caught up in the mundane activity that the ego-driven mind has created.  Life as a formulaic, step-by-step process- it could be written down like a recipe, and if someone performed the steps they would be me.  Or, would they?

Within every moment there is more happening between me and the other side of the planet, my simple mind could not conceive it all, yet it is all happening in the instant, within the instant.  Life- constantly unfolding…changing…never stopping.  I had this snap shot in my mind after reading this statement by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Awakening of the Heart on emptiness recently-

“Each of the 5 rivers has to be made by the other 4.  It has to coexist; it has to inter-be with all others.”

The five rivers being the five aggregates: form, sensation, perception, mental formation, and consciousness.  This being said, each aggregate or river flowing within us has to contain elements of the other aggregates or rivers flowing within us.  Nothing is independent of itself. And, we are “empty of a separate, independent existence.”

This being said, I felt like I was looking from above into a tall skyscraper with the top off.  And as I looked in, I could see a system like a corporation working.  Within the corporation are layers of departments each based on an idea, a subject.  Then, there are people working in each department supporting the idea, dependent on one another as they operate.  Each person has its own universe within them including the people they know and love.  Then, they have their own mind chattering away, all day- day after day.  Within their mind is their body.  Their body is made up of organs, tissue, cells, living organisms while the mind is dictating life, while the nature, the essence of this being is slowly, deliberately becoming more apparent in a form of awareness.  Thought becomes another thought- and then what?  Life.

As I stepped out of the gym yesterday, there was a large shift in the wind.  The sky was becoming darker, and as I turned the corner to get to my car, a rainbow was standing before me, filling the sky with its abundant beauty and hope.  This rainbow reminded me of so many other rainbows- and thus began a continuation of thought and life, ever changing and all encompassing, again.

One of my most memorable moments with a rainbow came when I felt completely lost and hopeless in my existence as a human, being.  I sat in my car at the grocery store on Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA, crying and asking my angels to please help me get out of my head and the funk of hopelessness.  I cried, and cried some more.  I finally felt a little relief and stepped out of my car, to again witness a large, brightly lit rainbow illuminating the sky in full color.  At that moment, I felt the hope of transformation and gratefulness chasing out my self-inflicted demons.

How often do we forget that we are not alone, that we are not independent of one another?  This is a reminder that no matter where you look, there is a rainbow somewhere giving hope to someone, who is deeply connected to you.  Just look around you, and listen to your heart.  You will see and hear whatever it is you need, to remember your essence, your divine nature.  It just helps to be open.  To be conscious of it, but it is always there.

REFLECTIONS OF THE SILENT WITNESS

Trees & SunIn a moment
In the silence of it all, I raise my heart to you
Dear, loving friend, solitary confidant.
A breeze carries the sound of love’s trinkets
And in an instant it touches everything around me.
All encompassing, all embracing…
I do not know what I am
But to open my eyes
Only when I want to close them.
The knowing-
The completion of this single, silent moment.
And I am everything.
Alone, and alive- I hear the witness inside of me.

Filling the sky with blue, and yellow
And kindness.
If only the need to know
Understood what it was to be whole.
Without anything lost, or anything gained-
I am the silent witness,
Once again.