From the BlogMeet Ron

NOV.17,2016 MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANOA

NOV.17,2016 MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANOA
Dear friends,
 
The Washington Post reported the other day that
 
“Since Election Day, there has been a spike in racist and intimidation incidents across the country. At least three organizations have documented the rise in graffiti, slurs and threats directed at minority groups over the past week.”
 
When “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl asked Trump last week if he had heard such reports, he said he had not. When asked if he had anything to say about this, he responded:
 
“I am so saddened to hear that. And I say: Stop it,” Trump told her. “If it, if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”
 
My personal reflections on the value of post-election spiritual practice mimic Mr. Trump’s words:
 
Stop it.
 
I say this to myself frequently.
 
Stop ruminating, stop catastrophizing.
 
But don’t stop meditating!
 
When my mind gets caught in these kinds of stories, it’s easy to put off meditation – because meditation (usually) dissolves these narratives, and the mental storylines want to keep spawning.
 
Recall the fear and suffering in this country of those who most likely will feel the greatest impact of this new political era: immigrants, minorities, the LGBT, Muslims.
 
But also reflect, as Zen teacher recently observed, on the hurt and fear of so many people who elected him. Sure, it may feel good to trash their emotions, but is this really helpful to anyone?
 
We are all, liberals and conservatives alike, caught up in fear and grasping in Samsara.

In a recent Lion’s Roar article, Pema Chodron said that post-election:
 
“The most important thing is our love for each other. We need to express our love and not avoid the temptation to get caught up in negative and aggressive thinking.”
 
The poet and Zen teacher Norman Fisher observes that:
 
“Bodhisattvas play the long game. They have confidence in the power of goodness over time. And they know that dark times will bring out the heroic in us … It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while; then we go back to work, as always, for the good.”
 
Probably the most dramatic lines I have read by a Buddhist teacher post-election comes from the head of a tradition I fondly practiced back in LA in the early 1980’s, the Kwan Um School of Zen — Zen master Barbara Rhodes wrote:
 
“Donald Trump especially needs our love and encouragement now, after taking on this huge responsibility. He has Buddha’s eyes, Buddha’s ears, and Buddha’s mind. May he realize his true self and strive to see and hear all things clearly and may he always act out of love.”
 
No matter how shocking this sentiment may seem right now, just to read that is a radical act.
 
And we need radical acts right now.
 
The writer and meditation teacher Susan Piver counsels us to:
 
“Remember that nothing is ever as good as you hope, nor as bad as you fear … but at the same time, feel what you feel. Don’t pretend you are not scared, sad, or angry. There is no problem with those feelings. What is a problem is to avoid what you feel and then, as humans tend to do, work it out on someone else by vilifying them.”
 
In these United States of Samsara (as Noah Levine quips) – let’s get radical.
 
Love our brothers and sisters on the other side, whichever that side is for you – but this does not mean getting “snuggly with hate mongers” though, as Susan Piver observes. 
 
And play the long game.
 
It’s what we signed up for on this path.
 
Have a wonderful rest of your week,
 
Tom, Katina, Kupaianaha … and Uilalani in NYC

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