Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, May 29, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. For George Floyd, it didn’t come at all.
I’m at a loss for words. One might think that if I were at a loss for words, this letter would stop right here. I’m not sure yet where I’m going with this, but I can’t not talk about this prejudiced - systemic - violence.
I have a recurring and convincing thought which suggests that I just turn off the news, do peacefully what’s in front of me, and ignore all this chaos. In many circumstances, this may be good advice. Regardless, I can’t sit idly by and do nothing. I was having a conversation with DC about this ongoing senseless violence and wondered: If George Floyd, or any other unfortunate victim, was my son, father, brother, cousin or even friend, would I sit idly by waiting for the pain to pass all the while hoping that “They” will fix the problem so that I could get on with my life? With confidence, No! Each time I read about a cruelty, my mind tries to convince me that I’m an ostrich and I should bury my head in the hot sand. I then recall the following quotes:
“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” John F. Kennedy
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Albert Einstein
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klan-er, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The desperation, helplessness, and the empathetic distress within me wants it fixed. Now! But violence, prejudice, and oppression are not new problems. These have been going on, since…I don’t know for sure. I have read that slavery was recognizable in Mesopotamia (3500 BCE) and prejudice sure is well documented in the Bible! I think to myself, “Seriously! This is 2020. Are we still needing to address the oppressive mistreatment of others and racism?” Apparently so. So, what do we do? The problem is so ingrained, so deep, so expansive and so incredibly complex, where do we start? And, what does being Mindful have to do with any of it?
Besides what I talk and sometimes moralize about in these weekly letters, there are a few more quotes all by Mother Teresa that I find quite helpful and inspiring:
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
I want the injustice to stop meow! But it doesn’t appear that I’m to be the mystic sage who will lead the masses out of their bondage. Mindfulness helps me to live in reality. I can only do so much. And if I can’t fix the global crisis’, then my Mindfulness practice gives me the skills to accept it. It is from this place of acceptance where I find peace and it is from this place of peace where I am most helpful. I’ll return to this point.
I write these letters and offer courses in Mindfulness because this is how I feel useful. I absolutely want to do more! I would love to have a larger audience; to reach people who know little about what’s possible in the realm of Waking Up! Unfortunately, with few exceptions, only those who already are aware of the benefits are the ones who seek what I have to offer. In so many ways, I’m preaching to the choir.
So, what can I say to the ones who will not listen? It is here that, “I am at a loss for words.”
Mother Teresa also suggested that “Peace begins with a smile.” A.J. Muste believed that, “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” Regardless of how much anger, sadness and despair arises within me each time I become aware of an atrocious crime against all of humanity, regardless of who you are, what you believe, or how you behave, through acceptance, I can work to cultivate peace in my heart and treat you with kindness and love. As we explored last week, we’re all Doin’ Our Best!” Just as each one of us has the inherent capacity to be compassionate, each of us is worthy of receiving that same compassion.
In light of what we are all witnessing, this may seem like a drop in the bucket. But it is a drop in the bucket and the bucket would be less full without it. Nevertheless, I aspire to do more. I’m just not sure what that will look like, yet.
I love you and there isn’t anything that you can do about it!
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