Now that a new American president has been elected, we need to acknowledge that there will be a large number of people that will be disappointed, fearful and even angry. This is not the time to give up and fall into doom and gloom ruminations. This is also not the time to rest or even to celebrate. Many people are suffering greatly with no idea how to heal themselves. There remains a great division in our country that needs attention. We cannot continue to be a United States comprised of a divided people. Such a dynamic is unsustainable--no matter which person you may have wanted to be elected.
Our work is cut out for us: We must to do better as citizens. We must to learn how to slow down and pay attention. We must listen deeply to those we don’t agree with and come to understand the source of fear and anger. We must relearn how to gather facts properly. We must demand integrity, transparency and balance from the media, from our political leaders, businesses and organizations.
True consensus comes from sitting down and listening to each other and working very hard to address everyone's needs and concerns--it can’t be done by force. We must to stop being lazy and complacent about what is happening around us. We can no longer defer responsibility to others with the hopes that someone else will take care of everything. We must take responsibility for our own lives and for the conditions that we find ourselves in.
It’s time to pull back our sleeves and get our hands dirty. It's no longer acceptable to remain ignorant, oblivious or apathetic. Remember that it was our fear, anger, ignorance and apathy that gave rise to the candidates we had to choose from. We did this to ourselves. If you don’t like where we are, do something about it. Don’t just complain or give in.
The first step is to address the fears, anxieties and anger that resides within ourselves. Understand yourself, know where you are right this moment: ask what you see, smell, taste, touch and feel--right this moment. If we don't know where we are and who we are in this very moment, we can't possibly understand the world around us.
Then, take a breath, greet the sun, and get to work!
I love you all. Yes, ALL of you!
I am Do'an Prajna, a bhikṣu (fully ordained Zen Buddhist monk) and zen teacher. Here I share my thoughts and observations about living a life of compassion, attention and gratitude.