Thoughts For Shadowy Times

"All human beings have in common the desire to avoid suffering and to know happiness." The 14th Dalai Lama

I have personally been struggling this past week with maintaining equilibrium and avoiding falling into cynicism. I have see-sawed between the desire to shout and lash out in anger and the desire to draw inward and ignore everything around me. This "either-or" thinking makes me feel whiplashed and confused. What I do know is true for me, what my rudder can be in this time, is that helping others brings me great peace. For solace and guidance I'm doing the following things and I share them with you.

  • I am spending one hour a day doing yoga and listening to a meditation or talk from Tara Brach - There are many other teachers, meditations and such online or in local bookstores. I am also reading one passage from a spiritual book each evening before bed. I am committing to doing this everyday to help ground me and to nourish me. 
  • I refuse to let cynicism take over my life and am committing to participating in creating the community I envision. A loving, inclusive and fair community. I am joining email lists from groups that support and advocate for people of color, LGBTQ issues, women's health, immigrants' rights and safety and in general protecting the marginalized. 
  • My wife and I have committed to finding community. We tend to keep to ourselves, especially spiritually. We are going to start exploring different spiritual groups and classes until we find the right fit for us. 
  • I am focusing on self-care, making sure to eat regular meals and food that is nourishing to me. I am increasing my appointments with my favorite support persons such as my therapist and acupuncturist. 

I am also reminding myself that we are not the first generation or peoples to experience divisive times. There are lots of resources on how to live in challenging times. We do not have to do this alone, we can look to our ancestors and the writings of other cultures. We can't forget that small and simple acts of kindness, especially to those feeling most vulnerable right now, are of much larger importance than we can know. Kindness is not meek, compassion is not timid. 

"If I can help, I can live with this." From Awakening Consciousness in Shadowy Times, Tara Brach

Image from the Sacramento State Capitol garden.