I want to talk today about Meditation and Action. Even before this pandemic, I have been wrestling with the ideas and practices of contemplation, meditation and how these are linked to action. This particular time in our shared history brings this ever more present and crucial for me.
We all know that meditation, while subtle, is a powerful practice for waking up to ourselves…and to one another. We learn how to be present to our immediate experience. The more we sit still, the more the mind becomes calm and clear. Our awareness becomes less distorted and less judgmental. Our heart is more open and compassionate toward others. When we do get upset or thrown off balance, we are much quicker to regain our composure and find our seat amid all of life’s inevitable ups and downs. It is meditation that has helped me to find gratitude in the midst of this pandemic.
But I also believe this is not enough, especially now. We also need to act. But let me also say that without meditation or contemplation in our lives, our actions will not be as powerful or fruitful or done out of love, which I believe true positive change originates from.
I believe we are being called now, more than ever to bring about a revolution in our way of living our everyday lives. I love that some have called this the Great Pause. I also love that some people are acknowledging that we shouldn’t return to normal because normal was fraught with problems. So how should we return to our lives and living?
We live in a world whose people and the planet are in deep pain, and have been for a long time. Some of this pain is a product of economic inequality which the pandemic has made more evident. We have long known that millions suffer and die from hunger each year. Obama recently said in his speech to graduates, “A disease likes this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country, We see a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities, just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question, and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questions.” He goes on to say – what I believe is crucial here for us today – “Injustice like this isn’t new. What is new is that so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing, that the old ways of doing things don’t work, that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick, and that our society and democracy only works when we think not just about ourselves but about each other.”
Pope Francis declared May 16 to the 24th as the 5th anniversary of “Caring for Our […]