(The following words were written and posted before I turned on the television and heard news of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. Another dreadful event in the bloody history of our contemporary world, and one which only underscores our pressing need to expand the community of those dedicated to peace and goodwill.)
Heartfelt thanks to those who have sent greetings, online and off, in the past few days. The cockles of my heart--whatever they may be--have been duly warmed. People with their own strange agendas may find it convenient to argue amongst themselves about what festival or season it's appropriate to celebrate. I say, bring 'em on--though in a different context from that man who poses as our president.
I know that we have exchanged views, this past year, on the nature of this peculiar community the Internet affords us; and I share a bit of the skepticism of those who worry that it's too safe to hide behind our computers where we have only the illusion of being truly in touch with others. Rather than bringing us together, there is the danger that this medium can isolate us still further in this often alienating age.
But then I find readers--and read blogs--from the furthest reaches of the world, from London and Copenhagen, Singapore and Sydney, Australia, from Bangkok and New Delhi and Cape Town and Lima, Peru, and I imagine a meeting of minds that could occur in no other imaginable way. And at such moments I feel like I'm part of a groundswell of potential, of a growing community of human beings who are not satisfied with our lack of mutual understanding or with the greed that threatens to destroy our planet.
And it seems to me that the "spirit of Christmas," with its message of "peace and goodwill toward men"--that must have been in the days before women were invented!--is still alive and thriving at least in this one small corner of the vast blogosphere that I occupy, and likely too in many more. And I feel privileged to be a part of it, to know that my voice is heard and that its particular and individual sound can resonate with others, whose thoughts and feelings coincide with mine.
Perhaps, I find myself thinking at such moments, we are part of a vast and growing conspiracy of human beings--not left-wing nor right, not black or white, not gay or straight, not American or Indonesian or Chinese or Italian--whose collective thoughts and efforts may indeed conjoin and work together to heal this ailing planet through the collective power of our sanity, our struggle to adhere to a sound, mutually beneficial moral clarity, and our commitment, each to the truth of our individual experience.
I heard once that the Quichol Indians in Mexico, instead of giving their new babies a name, ask first of the newborn: "Tell me who you are." That. for me, is the lovely, fundamental practice of those whose blogs I value most: through what they write, they tell me who they are. Just as, through The Buddha Dairies, I discover (almost!) daily more of my own humanity and hope to share that human part of me with the world.