Sunday, 8 July 2012

People Who Have Come Alive

Howard Thurman is a powerful example of human compassion and understanding.
He was a preacher who grew up in the segregated south and started 'Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples' the first non-segregated church in the US.
He was an incredibly hard working activist.

Gil Bailie was a motivated young person wanted to know how best to help in all the civil rights and spreading of compassion and teachings and asked Thurman 'what should I do'...

In a recent dharma talk at the Insight meditation center, Donald Rothberg suggested that Thurman probably had a million places where he knew that help was needed. - He might have sent Bailie to work in a community or to learn a special skill that was especially needed. But, instead, what he said was: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Made me think to write a little something in praise of the good people of the Insight Meditation Center and the San Francisco Zen Center who have been brave enough to challenge the 'voices around' and follow instead a deep spiritual practice. It made me think to write some words of praise, also to all the preachers out there who are still preaching the 'good news' that Jesus taught, though it has been used for 'spiritual materialism' and 'bought and sold and bought again' enough that it is hard to recognize as our spiritual tradition anymore.

To truly follow the teachings of the Buddha and Jesus, living a simple and quiet life in the midst of an increasingly materialist America is showing a real test of 'coming alive' and my hat is off to them. I am also deeply grateful for the podcasts so that I can glean the lessons of that struggle, while resting easy in simple quietude.

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Post a Comment