From the BlogMeet Ron


Dear friends,
This community is called Aloha Sangha. Although the majority of folks who receive this weekly community email don’t reside in Hawai’i, aloha is universal. 

It’s about kindness and caring. 
Sangha means a community. We are a community that embraces kindness and caring; wherever we may live, we are intimately linked together, by our dedication to the path of gentle, mindful caring and kindness. 

As many of you have already heard, one member of our community, Karla, disappeared back on March 28th. Many of her closest friends came together, engaged the print, local news and social media, and did what we could to search for her, by driving around our Island home looking for her car, which was also missing. 

This past Saturday evening, her car was found parked on a cul-de-sac, with a body, presumably of our dear friend, in the back seat. The Medical Examiner requires dental records to make an identification; we are still waiting for the news many of us expect.

The shock and disbelief has many of us feeling this just can’t be real. 

I remember reading somewhere Abraham Lincoln said or wrote that he had been driven many times to his knees by the conviction that he had nowhere else to go.

Our simple and profound mindfulness meditation practice doesn’t change what happens in our life. Life is still as tender, fragile, and sometimes as raw, as ever. 

But meditation changes the heart’s capacity to fully be with life as it is, no matter what that is. 

You have probably seen a small statue of the many armed Hindu deity Shiva, perhaps in a yoga studio. If you look closely, Shiva is dancing on the back of a dwarf, who represents ignorance. 
The dwarf is completely focused on obtaining an object, which in many statues is not shown, but implied by the dwarf’s outstretched hand. 

This little person is so compelled to get, thirst for, and live for things outside himself that he cannot see that God is right above him, standing on his back.

The Seattle-based meditation teacher Rodney Smith, who spent most of his life working in hospice care, observes that sudden and unexpected loss wakes us out of this fog of wanting this or that, allowing us to see the divinity before our stunned eyes.

Here is how he puts it:

“Death cleans off the knickknacks and shows the shelf. Bereavement is the process of settling with the fact the shelf is empty. Grieving slowly fills in the space that was created by the loss … When something of value is removed, nothing can completely fill the void. But behind this emotional void the fullness of life lurks. We have access to that fullness after a loss if we don’t fill the space too quickly.”

This is why we meditate: when good or bad things happen, we are with it all; we see and feel it as a subtle, purifying flow. 
The 19th century Persian-speaking poet Ghalib:

“When after heavy rain the storm clouds disperse, is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end?”
Sudden and tragic loss can open deeply defended aspects of our being, such that we see right through the illusions of density and separation that hold us back in our life.

Be kind to yourself.
This is the best way to honor Karla, and honor yourself.
Tom, Katina, and the kids

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