January 25, 2017

Staying Awake

My last post was about staying put: sitting on the meditation cushion, staying with whatever arises. This is an important practice, worthy of a lifetime. Equally important is taking mindfulness into daily life. 

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a commencement address at Oberlin College. It's called "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution." Fifty years have passed, yet his words still resonate: "Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. We must realize that the time is always right to do right."

I meditate so I can better understand myself: the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and sensations. I meditate so I can cultivate awareness and compassion. And I meditate so I can move through this complex world in more skillful, kind ways. It's not only about staying put on the cushion. It's about staying awake during a great revolution. It's about "doing right."

We are interconnected, all of us. Fear and blame constrict us—they clip our wings and close our hearts. Each day, I ask myself: How can I stay present, discerning, and compassionate in this complicated world? What’s the next skillful action to take?

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  1. Thank you for sharing this particular practice and these concrete questions? Only reading them opens up something in my heart.
    We live in complex times, yet it is so deeply touching how much beauty there is to be found, how much colour, next to the dark ... and how so many people are taking such a diversity of initiatives to make this world a better place. There is always light and it is shining, in so many places, if we only take the effort to see and notice it, to let it shine ourselves ... I am convinced that we are living in a revolutionary decade, in many areas in/of life.
    Much love and a warm hug to you, dear Joy!

    1. You, my dear friend, are filled with love and light. You are a beacon to the world. Yes, there is goodness all around us. Kindness, compassion, activism, and beauty. Thanks for helping us all see differently. Hugs back!