Wednesday, June 24, 2020


It's hard to maintain a semblance of equanimity. Hard, too, to find a satisfying answer to the self-doubts that arise, the judgment that 25 years of meditation practice should equip me better to access the compassion I need in our current circumstance--for both myself and others. To not get entangled.

Like everyone else these days, I look around and see turmoil everywhere. I see the effects of this global pandemic on the physical and mental health of almost every sentient human being. I see the disastrous economic tidal waves it causes, crashing down on especially those least able to survive. I see the cracks--the crevasses!--in the social structure that it has exposed. I see the massive, inexcusable injustices in many Western countries but especially in America between white people, comfortably unconscious, for the most part, of their "supremacy," and vast numbers of people of color. I see the widespread suffering caused by poverty, disease and hunger, violence and oppression. 

How can I experience all this without palpable, destructive distress in both the body and the mind? It's an incessant bombardment of those "slings and arrows" evoked in Shakespeare's memorable formulation, the flotsam and jetsam (to mix metaphors!) from life's fraught and endlessly restless ocean. I end up feeling battered, exposed,  barely able to find refuge for a short while even in the meditation practice that is the lifesaver for which I grasp out each morning.

It's not as though I don't know the answer: breathe. Then take another breath. And then another. Put those skills I have acquired to work to avoid attachment, to sit quietly and allow the vicissitudes to slip away with an understanding of their radical impermanence... And take another breath. 

It sounds so easy. It IS easy. So why should it be so hard...?

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