In the knowing that needs no words, the entire reality of the thinking mind is called into question.
We all, just like Siddhartha Gautama did, run back to the palace for a bit. We learn about the suffering of the world, we feel it, we run back to the palace. We come out again, we feel it, we run back to the palace. Until we come out enough that we decide: “Ok, I am not going back to the palace, I am staying here. I am going to understand what is going on, I am going to understand why we do this to each other.”
I have been thinking about waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. It’s my first vow of the day to liberate all beings and it’s my last thought at the end of the day to vow to liberate all beings? And can I try to encourage that in myself? […] Because we know the suffering of the world and we are moved to respond to it.
How can we become a community that fosters awakening to these systems of harm, in our bodies and between us? I want to understand how we can go beyond a fragile superficial harmony in our community to be a better community, to be truly anti-racist. To tear apart what we have to tear apart, to take responsibility for what we have to take responsibility – a loving responsibility, a loving accountability that listens and it’s humble and it’s disciplined and apologizes. And tries again, even though we don’t know what we are doing. Because we don’t know what we are doing.
I would like to mention a practice I learned from Dr. T. (a professor at Union Theological Seminary), that he termed the “hospitality of receiving.” […] In this practice, it is possible to meet one another with an attitude of openness and humility, as opposed to a colonialist mode of domination or appropriation. […] That act of receiving is also an act of hospitality – it is actually a gift.
There’s always been suffering in the world – nothing new. But these days, I think, we are given the gift to notice it more. We also have the gift of noting that pretty much everybody in the world is kind of suffering right now. There always are, but we don’t notice it. And now we have this gift to feel connected. We have the opportunity to actually, everyday, be with the suffering of people everywhere.
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My deep gratitude for the many people taking care of those who are suffering. Boundless gratitude. And for all the people who are courageously keeping the basic functioning of our city going. Of course, the medical workers who take care of the sick, the people who drive the ambulances, the truckers who are delivering us food from the farmers, the people who are selling and delivering our food to us, the people who pick up the trash, the people who deliver the mail and the packages. And deep gratitude for whoever it is that is keeping all this technology going at this time. It’s a mystery to me how it even works but I know there are human beings working hard to keep us in contact. Deep gratitude to all of them.
Resisting reality is a mistake. Because reality will win. No matter what that reality is. It’s safer and better to face whatever is happening with as clear a mind as you can possibly muster. And it’s from there that we respond to the world.
This is an updated podcast version of the dharma talk offered by BZC’s root teacher Teah Strozer on March 21, 2020, which includes the Q&A portion of the talk.
One day you may be serving food. One day you may be ringing a bell. It’s all the same. It’s all about doing that practice together with intention and with, dare we say, love. And it’s about getting in each other’s way. And it’s about knowing when to move. And knowing when to say the appropriate thing, when to correct. When to accept correction.