Fearlessness

–by Thich Nhat Hanh (Aug 27, 2014)

DC_fearlessnessMost of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.

We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow. We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us. We can transform our fear. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.

The first part of looking at our fear is just inviting it into our awareness without judgment. We just acknowledge gently that it is there. This brings a lot of relief already. Then, once our fear has calmed down, we can embrace it tenderly and look deeply into its roots, its sources. Understanding the origins of our anxieties and fears will help us let go of them. Is our fear coming from something that is happening right now or is it an old fear, a fear from when we were small that we’ve kept inside? When we practice inviting all our fears up, we become aware that we are still alive, that we still have many things to treasure and enjoy. If we are not pushing down and managing our fear, we can enjoy the sunshine, the fog, the air, and the water. If you can look deep into your fear and have a clear vision of it, then you really can live a life that is worthwhile.

The Buddha was a human being, and he also knew fear. But because he spent each day practicing mindfulness and looking closely at his fear, when confronted with the unknown, he was able to face it calmly and peacefully. There is a story about a time the Buddha was out walking and Angulimala, a notorious serial killer, came upon him. Angulimala shouted for the Buddha to stop, but the Buddha kept walking slowly and calmly. Angulimala caught up with him and demanded to know why he hadn’t stopped. The Buddha replied, “Angulimala, I stopped a long time ago. It is you who have not stopped.” He went on to explain, “I stopped committing acts that cause suffering to other living beings. All living beings want to live. All fear death. We must nurture a heart of compassion and protect the lives of all beings.” Startled, Angulimala asked to know more. By the end of the conversation, Angulimala vowed never again to commit violent acts and decided to become a monk.

How could the Buddha remain so calm and relaxed when faced with a murderer? This is an extreme example, but each of us faces our fears in one way or another every day. A daily practice of mindfulness can be of enormous help. Beginning with our breath, beginning with awareness, we are able to meet whatever comes our way.

Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free. If I am ever in an airplane and the pilot announces that the plane is about to crash, I will practice mindful breathing. If you receive bad news, I hope you will do the same. But don’t wait for the critical moment to arrive before you start practicing to transform your fear and live mindfully. Nobody can give you fearlessness. Even if the Buddha were sitting right here next to you, he couldn’t give it to you. You have to practice it and realize it yourself. If you make a habit of mindfulness practice, when difficulties arise, you will already know what to do.

–Thich Nhat Hanh  [passage picked from Awakin. Creative comic above by Dharma Comics ;-)]

Posted in ahimsa, anarchism, anarchy, astrobiology, Awakin Oakland, education, fearlessness, meditation, natural philosophy, noncooperation, nonviolence, Peace Army, satyagraha, Shanti Sena, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Amándote a tí mism@ / Loving Yourself

–por John Selby (Aug 21, 2014) [English below]

Self-LoveComo dice una vieja canción, “Todo el mundo ama a una persona amorosa”, y esto es sin duda cierto. Cuando tenemos el corazón abierto, cuando no estamos juzgando a los demás, sino aceptándolos tal como son, sus corazones reciben la energía que les transmite el nuestro, lo cual les alienta a acoplarse con nuestros buenos sentimientos y a responder de la misma forma. Nosotr@s repartimos amor, amplificamos los buenos sentimientos, alimentando el amor en nuestro corazón y compartiéndolo generosamente por doquiera que vayamos. Es así de simple. En serio.

Tú tienes tu propio grupo de amig@s, familiares y colegas, sea grande o pequeño. Y en el núcleo de tu ser, también tienes tu propia relación contigo mismo. Con el paso de los años, has desarrollado toda clase de opiniones sobre cada un@ de tus amig@s y también sobre tí mismo. Y observarás que hay días en que el amor te abre el corazón y otros en que estás completamente cerrado a la compasión. [...]

Ya hemos visto que casi tod@s nosotr@s tendemos a juzgarnos de forma habitual y con bastante dureza, normalmente en virtud de suposiciones y creencias negativas incuestionables que adquirimos muy pronto durante la infancia sobre nuestro concepto básico de valor personal, dignidad para ser amados y capacidad para saber cuidarnos. [...]

Si incluimos el factor del corazón, si permitimos que la inteligencia, la sabiduría y el poder de curación del corazón influyan activamente en nuestra experiencia de quiénes somos, todo el mundo es digno de amor en este Planeta. A fin de cuentas, bajo el lente del amor, tod@s somos perfect@s a los ojos de Dios. Vivimos en un universo perfecto y somos parte de él. Cuando se lo permitimos, el corazón de cada un@ de nosotr@s late armonía y sincronía con el amor que impregna la creación física… y salvo que nuestro juicio nos dicte lo contrario, estamos tal bien como somos. Por muy bajo que hayamos caído a los ojos de la sociedad, cuando nos aceptamos y abrimos el corazón, podemos comenzar de nuevo y vivir una nueva vida fundamentada en el amor.

 

–John Selby en Una Mente Serena. [Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)]

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A New Willingness For Truth and Solidarity

by Sabine Lichtenfels (Aug 14, 2014)

Global-PeaceWe need new centers and communities in which the knowledge and wisdom of peace and love can be learned. A person who educates herself in global peace work needs to understand how much our lives have been a bulwark against the truth. You must be willing to recognize and accept the truth. You must be prepared to reduce your inner walls to experience human compassion for yourself, pure and without pretense, for the first time. In order to understand the atrocities performed daily, in the name of globalization, to people, animals and the Earth, most people –from the West– would need to first visit a crisis area. Only then might this person might really begin to understand for themselves the connections between environmental crisis and inner crisis. And they must want to know the truth. If that is given, (s)he may move into the world, to the place where they can do their job best.

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Vieques: La Pequeña Gran Isla / The Little Great Island

–por Myrna Pagán (Aug 08, 2014) [English below]

Vieques-Isla-NenaVivir en esta isla, aceptar la responsabilidad de exponer a tus hij@s aquí y ver a tus nietecit@s, cada un@ de ell@s, contaminad@s con metales pesados, es aceptar un gran riesgo. Pero es también aceptar un reto de mejorar las cosas para el futuro.

He vivido en Vieques por 37 años. Me mudé aquí con mi esposo Charlie y Vieques fue el lugar perfecto para lo que queríamos, que era vivir de la tierra y el mar, tener una familia y volver a vivir de una manera básica, sencilla y hermosa. Era un sueño hecho realidad.

Me enteré que tenía cáncer en una etapa de mi vida en la que me sentía increible. Me sentía de maravilla. Me enteré un jueves y el lunes de la siguiente semana ya estaba internada en el hospital.

Hasta 2003, la isla de Vieques, en la parte del Planeta que llamamos Puerto Rico, había sido usada como un blanco y sitio de pruebas militares de E.U.A. por casi 60 años. Los metales pesados que vienen de los residuos de las descargas de bombas son la causa de una alarmante tasa de cáncer en l@s habitantes de Vieques.”

Tod@s y cada un@ de nosostr@s en nuestra familia, nos hicimos unas pruebas de metales pesados. Estamos hablando de l@s bebit@s, las tres generaciones. Cada persona que fue examinada en esta familia, está contaminada con niveles tóxicos de metales pesados. ¡Y maldita sea, voy a hacer pagar a la Marina (de E.U.A.) por esto!

Con lo que tengo que lidiar ahora es con una cuestión de salud en esta comunidad, donde la tasa de cáncer es 27% más alta –y sigue creciendo– que el resto de población de la parte del Planeta que llamamos Puerto Rico. Niñ@s entre 11 y 19 años tienen más de un 50% de probabilidad de contraer más cáncer que sus contrapartes en el resto de Puerto Rico. Esto es inaceptable.

Hemos pasado por un proceso donde ahora estamos despiert@s, estamos ahora conscientes, estamos ahora list@s para salir y abogar por nosotr@s mism@s. Creo que la esencia de la lucha del pueblo de Vieques es dejar de ser usados, dejar de estar en las sombras, deshacernos de esto ha sido algo muy liberador y todo fue hecho (noviolentamente),  pacíficamente. Es un éxito tremendo ver como una islita pequeñita pudo confrontar poderozamente a una fuerza (destructiva) en la manera que lo hicimos, fue algo realmente inspirador para mucha gente.

Las particularidades de nuestra lucha hicieron posible que pudiésemos crecer,  expresarnos y salir adelante.



–Myrnba Pagán. Transcripción del video Ahora Estamos Despiert@s.  La evolución de este inspirador movimiento de como un pueblo valiente paró a la fuerza naval más poderosa en la historia de la humanidad continúa a más de 11 años.  Ya es tiempo de limpiar el desastre. [Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)] Continue reading

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Arrested For Telling Your Name?

“My family calls me Pancho”… as you may know, that’s the way I introduce myself when people ask me “what’s your name?” Last month, was no exception when I answered the same way. This time I added my lastname. I even told them that I was one of the ~11 million human beings without documents in this part of the Planet.

But there were too many “Pancho Ramos” in the system and the brother police officer needed more information to comply with the procedure after a BART employee called them earlier…

So called “people of color”, such as your humble servant, know that at any point _anything_ can be used as a pretext to exert what is called “system power” at the discretion of those who have access to it. Lo and behold,  been  ~30 hrs in the Santa Rita jail and the latest arrest during BART to HEART a month ago, shows what is at stake: to follow the Law of Love and to no longer submit to a racist status quo enforced by violence, pollution, greed and unexamined laws of men. [Let alone a system that is fueled by killing children in the part of the Planet we call Palestine... in our own ways, we must boycott, non-cooperate and disobey this system with Great Love, locally and abroad, always remembering that those brothers and sisters working for it, need an alternative to step out with dignity --as these 50 brave soldiers did recently. Until then, we'll be stuck in obsolete paradigms that exacerbate hurt.]

The great news is that we don’t have to wait to live in a way that honors life, compassion and our interconnectedness.

So what does the nightmare in the Middle East  have to do with police using weapons in public transportation in East Oakland? I wear my heart lens that honors all life, treating each other as family, and then I see that all this is about honoring our dead with respect and beauty at the the same time as we challenge the crumbling Western Syndrome –as opposed to Western Culture– without saying a word, like the powerful #GazaNames initiative or, well, BART to HEART. It is a form of, what our elder Gustavo Esteva calls, joyous militancy. It is an ecology of joy :-) [La ecología del gozo :-)]

charges-BART-to-HEARTAs you can see in this photo, these are the charges of the misdemeanor that was finally read by a judge of the superior court of California last (silent)Monday, July 21st. It reads: “giving false information to a police officer”.

I understand that our siblings, both, the sister operating the BART booth and the police officer, were doing the usual procedure when someone is out of the norm and/or doesn’t appear in the system. And that’s the problem: 1. Why are we relying in an institutionalized gang, the police, to address our conflicts? 2. How is it that people loaded with lethal weapons –and who can barely walk because of them– are tasked with bringing more harmony and peace to our neighborhoods? 3. Why are we spending all this time, energy and resources to jail people who are meditating?

bail-receipt4. What’s the reason for putting a $10,000 bail for someone “giving false information to a police officer” as they did in my case?

In a way, BART to HEART could be seen as an organic way to create the Bay Area Restorative Team! (BART!). At least in Frutivale. And disarming people is another step on the way to eradicate prisons and the presence of police in our communities and public transportation.

I firmly believe that we all are responsible for, not just the “security”, but responsible for the harmony and peace of our communities. A person contributing to the “security” of society, needs to bring peace and harmony to it.

I’m showing up at the court in Oakland on Monday, August 4th, at 9am for the pre-trial. The address is 661 Washington Street, Oakland, CA 94607 in Department 104.  All meditators and people doing silent prayer and contemplation are welcome to join us at 8am.

May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.

Jai Jagat! ¡Gloria al Planeta! Glory to the Planet!

Pancho

August 1st, 2014, Fruitvale, Oakland, Earth.

 

Update

Oakland-court-metal-detector-truth-detector[1300 hrs, Aug 4, 2014]: While people were waiting for the Oakland court to open and pass through the metal detector –without missing some of the realities in this city– some of us sat in receptive silence under a tree outside of the court around 8am. Then we went inside the court. The phenomenal sister Yolanda Huang, who is key in the movements to Stop the Gang Injunctions and farming/gardening/greening our hoods and also part of the team of brother Dan Siegel– who also represented us when the regents of the University of California sued a bunch of urban farmers for what? “malicious mulching and wicked watering?” ;-)–, talked with the District Attorney and, somehow, the charges were dismissed. I was “exonerated”.

dismissed-charges-BART-to-HEART-2014

Right before, we were able to read 3 BART police reports and it amazed me that none of them mentioned the most important two words: Oscar Grant. Unbelievable. I can’t tell you how emphatic I was about honoring Oscar the father, the son, the friend, the brother, the neighbor… every time I spoke with each one of our brothers working for the police.

The reports, missing the heart of BART to HEART, made me chuckle a few times like when one of the police officers wrote: “I asked for his date of birth and he replied that he was thousands of years old” :-) What I said –besides inviting them to Casa de Paz in 1978 36th ave, Fruitvale, Oakland 94601 CA– was that I was ~13.7 billion years old, our Cosmic Age and that we needed to better act accordingly, just as I responded in this YES! Magazine panel: What’s Love Have to Do With The Apocalypse?

Astha-LittleOne-Raj-Sam-Pancho-BARTtoHEARTHere are some photos from July’s BART to HEART, last Thursday, when we sat in receptive silence to continue to disarm our hoods and to facilitate the healing of our community.  We had our youngest satyagrahi on the platform, meditating with us with only 19 weeks in the uterus of sister Astha! :-)

May we never forget that only moved by love we are going to be able to survive as the human and non-human family.

Jai Jagat! ¡Gloria al Planeta! Glory to the Planet!

Love you all! <3

Posted in ahimsa, anarchism, anarchy, fearlessness, nonviolence, Peace Army, satyagraha | 4 Comments

La Ecología del Gozo en Nuestros Movimientos y Espacios Radicales

 

LA ECOLOGÍA DEL GOZO EN NUESTROS MOVIMIENTOS Y ESPACIOS RADICALES

Preámbulo:algunas ideas sobre JM/SM1 – Entrevistando a Gustavo Esteva  [the interview is also available in English]

The Purple Thistle (Vancouver)

Consideramos que como activistas tenemos la capacidad de participar en acciones que confrontan y resisten el orden dominante y, al mismo tiempo, pensamos que podemos y debemos forjar momentos de goce; momentos de una vida próspera. Podemos vivir nuestras vidas de una manera amable y convivial para cuidar realmente los unos de los otros, fomentar una generosidad radical aquí y ahora, y no esperar a que la revolución o el desastre irrumpan antes de que nosotros vivamos nuestras vidas de un modo verdaderamente radical, creativo y alegre.

Sugerimos que una forma útil de pensar acerca de la política radical se da a través de los lentes del goce y la tristeza. Tenemos un significado específico para estos términos a partir de Spinoza y otros filósofos. El goce significa permitir el mundo en nosotros y darnos nosotros mismos al mundo: ser vulnerables, compasivos, experimentales, creativos y tener la capacidad de abrazar la incertidumbre. La tristeza, por su parte, significa crear límites, trazar distinciones, comparar, realizar planes, entre otros. Estas definiciones resultan contraintiuitivas ya que no estamos pensando en sentimientos de alegría o infelicidad. En la manera en la cual empleamos estos términos puede haber lugar para la risa, la felicidad, la pena y la rabia tanto en el goce como en la tristeza. Aunque se trata de una distinción en la que separamos dichas nociones, queremos, inmediatamente, ligarlas de nuevo: no es posible la una sin la otra. Todos los movimientos, espacios, colectivos e individuos poseen elementos de goce y tristeza: aquellos están unidos entre sí, colaboran entre sí, se obstaculizan mutuamente y se encuentran en constante cambio y transformación. Con frecuencia necesitamos buenos límites para crear espacios radicales en un mundo opresivo; necesitamos hacer planes y estar abiertos a cambiarlos—a la vez que nosotros mismos nos transformamos. Continue reading

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The Ecology Of Joy In Our Radical Movements and Spaces

Preamble: some ideas about JM/SM — Interviewing Gustavo Esteva [la entrevista está disponible también en español]

The Purple Thistle (Vancouver)

We think that as activists we can participate in actions of causing trouble against and resisting the dominant order and at the same time we can and must carve out moments of joy, of a thriving life. That is, to live our lives with each other in a kind, convivial way, to really take care of one another, to foster a radical generosity here and now, and not wait for the revolution or for disaster to strike before we (say we will) live our lives in a truly radical, creative, and joyful way.

We are suggesting that a useful way to think about radical politics is through the lens of joy and sadness.  We have a really specific meaning of these terms, which comes from Spinoza and other philosophers.  Joy means letting the world in and letting oneself into the world: being vulnerable, compassionate, experimental, creative, and embracing uncertainty.  Sadness means creating boundaries, making distinctions, comparing, making plans, and so on.  These definitions are counterintuitive, because we are not talking about feelings of happiness or unhappiness.  There can be laughter, happiness, sorrow, and anger in both joy and sadness in the way we’re using them here.  Although this is a distinction where we’re separating these things out, we want to immediately mush them back together: you can’t have one without the other.  All movements, spaces, collectives, and individuals have elements of joy and sadness: they’re bound together, they help and hinder each other, and they’re constantly shifting and changing.  We often need good boundaries to create radical spaces in an oppressive world, we need to make plans and be open to changing them and changing ourselves.   Continue reading

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Our Environment Is An Integrated Whole

by Ganoba (Aug 01, 2014)

Ganoba-jiWe have a very special relationship with our environment. The sooner we realize it, the better it is for all of us.

Life as we know it came into being because of the environment. Having given birth to it, it has nurtured and supported it and provided the playground for its evolution. It continues to do so in spite of the ravages caused to it by the modern man.

The environment in our living experience appears in five principle forms, namely the earth, water, air, space and energy. These five individually and in conjunction with the others take on millions of forms. For example, earth appears as dust, sand, boulders, hills and mountains; water appears as vapour, moisture, rain, streams, brooks, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, snow, glaciers etc.; energy appears as heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism and so forth. Air is a subtle element and hence we can only experience it in its various forms and moods.  Space is very subtle and so we sense it when it is missing or crowded out. Together they create this wonderful universe. Similarly life has taken on zillions of forms; the amphibians, the reptiles, the worms, the bacteria, the birds and beasts, the trees, the creepers, the bushes the algae and so forth. Continue reading

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Reclamando Cómo Aprender / Reclaiming How to Learn

–por Gustavo Esteva (Jul 25, 2014) [English below]

Reclamando-Libertad-Aprender¿Cómo podemos desescolarizar nuestras vidas y las de nuestros hijos e hijas, en este mundo real, donde la escuela todavía domina a mentes, corazones e instituciones?

Cuando todos nosotros exigimos educación e instituciones en las cuales nuestr@s hij@s y jóvenes puedan permanecer y aprender, cerramos los ojos al trágico desierto social en el cual vivimos. No tienen acceso a oportunidades reales de aprender en libertad. En muchos casos, ya no pueden aprender con sus madres, padres, tíos, tías, abuelas y abuelos, aunque sea sólo para hablarles, escuchar sus historias u observarlos en sus ocupaciones diarias. Todo el mundo está ocupado, yendo de un lugar a otro. Ya nadie parece tener la paciencia para compartir con la nueva generación la sabiduría acumulada en una cultura. En vez de educación, lo que en realidad necesitamos son condiciones para una vida decente, una comunidad.

Nuestro desafío, entonces, es encontrar maneras de regenerar la comunidad en la ciudad, para crear un tejido social en el cual tod@s nosotr@s, a cualquier edad, podamos ser capaces de aprender y en el cual pueda florecer cualquier tipo de aprendizaje. Al hacer esta investigación radical, nos sorprendemos a nosotr@s mism@s, día a día, cuando descubrimos cuán fácil puede ser crear alternativas y cuánta gente está interesada en la aventura. [...] Continue reading

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If Life Were A Poem, Light & Benediction

by Bernadette Miller (Jul 18, 2014)

SUNflower-BernieIf Life Were A Poem

If life were a poem
to the Universe,
I would find beauty
in the saying
of the darkest sorrows
and the arms of my night
would overflow
with stars.

If life were a poem
to the divine,
I would find heaven
in recesses
of doubt
and compassion
in recoiling.

If life were a poem
to the Earth,
I would find renewal
in the falling
of ancient protection
and possibilities would blossom
from decay.

If my life were a poem
to myself,
I would become a vessel
deep enough to embrace
betrayal
and belonging
with unabashed gladness.

If my life were a poem
to the one I would become,
I would inhabit this day
with reverence
and choose to make
of surrender
a home.

If my life were a poem
to you,
I would find in my shame
the wounds of the world
and seek in my celebration
the love
that is waiting
to become
our hands. Continue reading

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