Hey yall, It’s Tuesday. The Earth turned into the Sun again today. The clouds parted so that we may feel the warmth of that Sun too. For those things and more, I am hella grateful. Please see the passage below. I am re-reading this little book called Practicing Peace and it speaks to every ounce of what is happening in the world right now and how we can all choose to evolve through these times. Pema on Racial Injustice
Dedication: To everyone. All the people. All the animals. All the plants. All the Spirits.
Quote: Practicing Peace by Pema Chödrön. “War begins when we harden our hearts, and we harden them easily— in minor ways and then in quite serious, major ways, such as hatred and prejudice—whenever we feel uncomfortable. It’s so sad, really, because our motivation in hardening our hearts is to find some kind of ease, some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling. Someone once gave me a poem with a line in it that offers a good definition of peace: “softening what is rigid in our hearts.” We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power, but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
What happens is a chain reaction, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t know what I’m talking about. Something occurs—it can be as small as a mosquito buzzing—and you tighten. If it’s more than a mosquito—or maybe a mosquito is enough for you—something starts to shut down in you, and the next thing you know, imperceptibly the chain reaction of misery begins: we begin to fan the grievance with our thoughts. These thoughts become the fuel that ignites war. War could be that you smash that little teensy-weensy mosquito. But I’m also talking about war within the family, war at the office, war on the streets, and also war between nations, war in the world.
We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism. But whenever we harden our hearts, what is going on with us? There’s an uneasiness and then a tightening, a shutting down, and then the next thing we know, the chain reaction begins and we become very righteous about our right to kill the mosquito or yell at the person in the car or whatever it might be. We ourselves become fundamentalists, which is to say we become very self-righteous about our personal point of view.
…The next time you get angry, check out your righteous indignation, check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this person, because this one really is bad—this politician, that leader, those heads of big companies. Or maybe it’s rage at an individual who has harmed you personally or harmed your loved ones. A fundamentalist mind is a mind that has become rigid. First the heart closes, then the mind becomes hardened into a view, then you can justify your hatred of another human being because of what they represent and what they say and do.
…If you look back at history or you look at any place in the world where religious groups or ethnic groups or racial groups or political groups are killing each other, or families have been feuding for years and years, you can see—because you’re not particularly invested in that particular argument— that there will never be peace until somebody softens what is rigid in their heart. So it’s necessary to take a big perspective on your own righteousness and your own fundamentalism when it begins to kick in and you think your own aggression and prejudice are reasonable.
I try to practice what I preach; I’m not always that good at it but I really do try. The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about somebody else, and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up and self-righteous and closed minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness.
If you could have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides think they’re right. So the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds.”
Practicing Peace Mini-Book PDF
Song: I Want To Be Here – by Neko Case, here’s the video Bruce and I played for today with this song, recorded by my awesome roommate, Andrea. InstaVideoSongPost
The excerpt from above means a lot to me. I wish I could somehow transfer this sentiment of softening our hearts to every human on this planet. Some people know this already, but some people don’t and would never agree… so we’d have to sneak it in while they were sleeping. We could send a little whisper of Love into their ears via magic fairy dust or something they couldn’t successfully shake out or wash off in the morning. I don’t have much to say that Pema didn’t already about all that’s happening out there in the world. I wish everyone rest and a calm heartbeat. I wish everyone food in their bellies and enough resources to provide for what they need. I wish for marginalized people to have some peace of mind and heart. I wish those in power would use it for the betterment of society instead of to its detriment. I wish for people’s hearts to soften and to feel what it is that could truly save this world, Love. (and 6 feet of temporary personal space…) Goodnight y’all.