Revolutionary Acts

Awareness.

Compassion.

Equanimity.

Loving-kindness.

These are revolutionary acts. Their endgame is peace. Their leitmotif, trust that we will do what is required.

Just as peace is available to us in the experience of every moment so is the ability to commit revolutionary acts. They change us, usually forever. In trust, we experience the flow of change.

Change cycles through our lives like seasons. Acknowledgement or no, we will experience it, often as a storm, for change is energy. As we know, energy, even on its best behavior, is chaotic.Lake Ella Fountain 0115

Trust reminds us there will be another morning, another opportunity for revolutionary acts.

It is one thing to know the sun will rise but it is another to trust in what the rising of the sun brings. Regardless, each day dawns in total vulnerability, the wellspring of trust.

It is an extraordinary example of tenderness, this daily dawn reminder of what we are capable.

This revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a lifetime.

Tara Brach

It is no effort to store a lifetime of aversive messages, for each experience can be so labeled, if we choose. The energy of boxing up a life is minimal for it requires no updating just the initial experience and then re-runs. It becomes its own newsreel, skewed in comfort.

Ah, aversive, the coming undone of an attitude or feeling. Ours is a slow dawn, this throwing off of aversion, yet we do rise as we face what we once would not.

We stand in revolutionary awareness, ready to commit acts of compassion, loving-kindness, and equanimity.ocean pine 0215

Rage has its own set of acts—not revolutionary–its endgame fear, pain, and death. We are averse to its message, its messengers, and its weapons–guns, knives, poison, bombs—we are diminished by each death, all of the life landscape forever changed.

Revolutionary acts may or may not make us stronger—I do not know—I am not sure that is their purpose. I suspect it is awareness. What I do know is the open heart is a revolutionary beat ready to rush rage.

To undo rage is to undo the averse messages of a lifetime. It takes tender conviction, a commitment to a lifetime of revolutionary acts. That is my call to action, my arms open to all.

These are not days for sunshine patriots for the dawn is grey.

Revolutionary acts do not require the radiance of a sunrise, just a dawning, a promise the sun will rise. Trust is enough to keep the open heart beating. Revolutionary acts rise not to war but to the absence of battle. Theirs is the tender touch of awareness.

Note Regarding This Post: Once again, there has been a mass shooting in the United States. As a Zen Buddhist, my position is obvious. This post is about revolutionary acts that involve a call to the heart. I am not the first to do so or, unfortunately, the last. Would that I were.

My position is often called naïve. That it may be but this is what I know: a change of heart produces results every time. It is our hearts that ultimately get our minds to re-thinking.

To open our hearts is a revolutionary act, requiring constant vigilance, and a belief that the sun still rises.

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We are all Home

To sit within ourselves is to be at home. Our home is full of emotional energy continuously streaming through our body, the structure we rely on for the experience of being human. All we have to do is sit down.

The more you are willing to just let the world be something you’re aware of, the more it will let you be who you are….

Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul)

Michael Singer introduced me to the “seat of self” as he calls the center of consciousness that is within us all. It is from here that the “great mystery begins once you take that seat deep within” (Singer). We become aware of being aware of the world around us, and we do it from the safety and comfort of home.

Peace is available to us in every moment. We don’t have to go anywhere.

white-heron-110311Some settings may seem more peaceful than others but I find it quite powerful that peace is always available to me if I will just sit down in the seat with my name on it. Everyone has one. We are all home.

A little over twenty years ago, Willie Baronet began his “We Are All Homeless” campaign. He wanted to ease his own discomfort in seeing homeless people. In doing so, he has provided comfort to thousands of others.

Baronet decided to purchase signs from homeless people, offering anywhere from $10-$20 per sign, but that was not what eased his discomfort nor increased his awareness of himself and the world around him.

The purchase was the way to start a conversation with each homeless person who sold him a sign. The conversations continue as his collection of signs grows. It has become a wall of awareness about homelessness and the human story.

Each sign is a line in the story of the multi-dimensional person who created it. Each sign is a single thread in the tapestry of humanity. The stories run the gamut of what it is to be human, sometimes desperate and other times, simply inspirational.

We all are homeless until we come home. Not all who carry signs believe home is a physical shelter as Baronet discovered. Many are home, living in the peace of an open heart. They are always home whether they reside in subtropical peninsulas, high plains deserts or on city streets.

But do not ask me where I am going,

As I travel in this limitless world,

Where every step I take is my home.

Dogen

If we can bring ourselves to sit down in the home we always have—our seat of self—and be comfortable with all that we are and are not, we will find ourselves looking through a lens of equanimity and compassion at the world around us.

Oh the stories we will tell, the stories we will hear.

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Thursday Tidbits: Posting for Peace

Welcome to Thursday Tidbits, choice bits of information that celebrate our oneness with one another through our unique perspectives. It is how we connect, and it is how we have always connected but in the 21st century, the connection is immediate.

Peace seemed the obvious choice for the first Thursday Tidbits because peace resides within the infinite field of possibilities, one person at a time:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” (Margaret Mead).

Each of us is the one person that we can do something about—in fact, we are the only person we can change, and in changing who we are we change the world. It really is the way it has always been; moment by moment, we give to the world what we are.

Imagine my delight when I discovered a small but growing group of bloggers who have committed to blogging for peace forpeace6during 2013. Once a month, these bloggers will post on peace for peace’s sake. Everyday Gurus is the blog that launched the movement, and I am proud to be participating. The peace posts are fresh, bold, each blogger’s perspective on yet another way to view the world we share.

There are other peace perspectives on the blogosphere as well, of course. Matthew Wright, a blogger that I read regularly, recently published a thoughtful post on the possibility of 2013 as the year of kindness. I was especially taken with Matthew’s suggestion that we remove the ego from our lives and replace it with kindness; “we must ask not how do others threaten us, but how can we help them.” Inherent in peace are four emotions that are not ruled by the ego: gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Poet Ann E. Michael recently published one of the most intriguing essays on “blame and fear” that I have read. In particular, I found Ann’s insight on scapegoats illuminating; “fear also keeps us from finding resources of our own.” If we lack inner resources, fear does very well.

Thus, we begin with the one person we can change, one’s self, and we begin in kindness, without blame or fear, grateful that in every moment, we have the opportunity to begin again. It is the opportunity we have always had but now, the connection is immediate.

Finally, here is the forever young Eva Cassidy singing her unique arrangement of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” For me, the song provides yet another perspective.