Being mindful is not a passive state of observation and musing. Rather it is an active awareness, a commitment to connection, and an obligation for the one living mindfully to speak to the truth. Now more than ever mindful people are needed to prophetic witness.
How do we respond to turmoil? To hatred, displayed publicly or in a private conversation? Paraphrasing Pema Chodron, we have to ask ourselves whether we prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or choose to live and die in fear.
Our mindfulness practices are not intended as an escape from the turmoil and suffering of the world. Rather, this practice prepares us to be ready to face these difficulties with equanimity, able to choose responses wisely.
It is not a time to retreat. We must confront hatred and suffering when and where they exist. But to do so with mindful curiosity, openness, acceptance, and maybe even compassion will help each of us to suffer a little less, and may even get the attention of someone steeped in hatred and suffering.
In today’s meditation I read this poem, which captures the feeling that I’m trying to get at. I hope you enjoy it.
Think Like a Tree
Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.
— Karen I. Shragg