Monday, July 6, 2009

The Dalai Lama's Birthday

Many of us are so out of touch with ourselves that we can easily lose a sense of what is a skillful action in a situation. We can be so intent on caring for others or on pleasing them or pacifying them or avoiding conflict with them that we don't clearly face our own needs, our own situation.

Setting boundaries and limits, shifting from a dependent and entangled love to one based on mutual respect, learning to give while honoring one's own needs, all of these can entail a profound growth in self-esteem and self-awareness.

We can enter the realm of politics with the integrity of world citizens and the wisdom of a bodhisattva, a being committed to the awakening of all. We can bring our spiritual practice into the streets, into our communites when we see each realm as a temple, a place to discover that which is sacred.

No one says it will be easy. It may take years of practice to learn how to enter the family arena or the political arena and stay connected with our deepest compassion. Staying connected takes a particular conscious effort. Yet, what is sacred and what is true is found here as much as anywhere.

We may be confused initially because our world is complex. When we sit alone, we face only our own suffering. When we act in our families and in the world community, we must also face the suffering that connects us with all of life.

Hundreds of millions of our brothers and sisters live in situations of great injustice or great poverty. We can respond to this suffering as part of our own. None of us can avoid tyranny, loss, sorrow or death.

We are all interconnected in the destruction or saving of our planetary environment. We must remember that the world's current problems are fundamentally a spiritual crisis, created by the limited vision of human beings - a loss of connection to one another, a loss of community, and most deeply a loss of connection to our spiritual values.

The vast problems of this earth - warfare, poverty, ecological destruction, etc. are created from greed, hatred, prejudice, delusion, and fear in the human mind.

Einstein called us nuclear giants and ethical infants. Only when we have found a compassion, a goodness and understanding that transcends our own greed, hatred and delusion can we bring freedom alive in the world around us.

To expand our circle of practice is to let our life be our message.

Awakening compassion and freedom on this earth will not be easy. We need to be honest in dishonest times when it is easier to fight for our principles than it is to live up to them.

We must awaken in a time when the Tao, the dharma, the universal laws are often forgotton, when materialism, possessiveness, indulgence, and military security are widely advertised as the correct basis of human action.

We must find or discover in ourselves the ancient and eternal law of life based on truth and compassion to guide our actions.

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