Commitment, asking for your help, and Mashmakhan
As we live and breathe in this moment, ours is the power and privilege to choose and embrace this precious gift of life; to honor, cherish, and uplift it in others and ourselves, is the simple commitment that opens the heart which closes itself in the presence of fear. The world of tomorrow will be populated by the children of today. How we choose to live our lives, right now, will determine the character, culture, and environment that we leave behind once our brief time on planet Earth has passed.
If we could step far ahead into the future, what would our world look like? So often, dreams of the future are painted as bleak, fearsome, or uninhabitable by today's standards. Long gone, the world inherited from our progenitors with its lush verdant valleys, vast and prosperous plains, monolithic mountains; hubris and unchecked extraction laid bare the once vibrant planet we call home. Forced to survive off-world or clustered in pockets of artificially produced habitats built on the old skeletons of civilization, human beings continue to struggle with the foundations of healthy relationships - sharing. Such a sad and hopeless depiction is a product of the grave dangers we court with today's choices between the sanctity of existence and the failure to remember it. All of the horrors we can dream are not yet a reality, and can be avoided if we allow ourselves to learn.
In our time, we face a great unlearning of old models and norms of social life that have created great divisions between people in terms of class, race, gender, and creed. Hundreds of thousands of years of conditioning have created personal, political, and systemic biases that inundate all areas of life. They must be acknowledged, and we must make effort to take responsibility for the impact of our own misconceptions. We also face a great remembering of the intimate way that human life is shaped and related to all other life on this planet, and how our continued survival depends deeply on the survival of other forms of life. We are also learning that our attitudes towards "productivity" have lead to a deeply transactional relationship with other human and non-human beings that is deeply unhealthy and violent. What makes it possible to learn what is being offered to us in these challenging times is not a miracle, otherworldly influence, or cataclysm. We need to be committed to choosing compassion.
The practical skills of mindfulness traditions offer us a way to engage, with gratitude, whatever is present with equanimity. Evenness of mind is a subjective state that allows us to operate in objectively harmonious ways with our external surroundings. It may appear that the effort of mental, physical, and spiritual disciplines with their rules and restrictions attempt to limit personal agency, and that seeking the results of peace, clarity, and inner and outer harmony require tremendous sacrifice. No doubt, cultivating self-determination and dedicating oneself to regularly choosing moderation over excess or indulgence is often not easy or pleasant. What allows for the kind of self-accountability, forgiveness, and enthusiasm to start again when we fail (which we all do) is compassion. The deep commitment to live life in this way arises from the trust that there is within us already a harmony between ourselves and the cosmos that surrounds us. The consistent choice to listen to that inner harmony requires a softness and tenderness that is born out of cultivating firm resolve, integrity, and adaptability.
By our commitment to our own relationship with the wisdom, power, and harmony within ourselves, we see the presence of that same collection of cosmic forces present in everything that surrounds us. Living in the spirit of remembering the integrity and wholeness of all things has the capacity to transform the future of this world. The foundation of a world culture that sustains every living being as an equal and valuable participant is nothing but love. As complex as life is, and as confusing as the human experience is, love is the cosmos embracing itself in everything no matter what. It reminds me of the lyrics of Mashmakhan's track, Children of the Sun.