Taking refuge, gratefully

Recent years have been emotionally challenging for myself and most of the people I know. Climate destruction, sexism, political nastiness, white supremacy, absence of ethical leadership, aging friends, death, my own physical vulnerability … the long list goes on. Yet, I am recovering from reciting the old lists and critiques, even those that are still valid and important. Rather, I must re-affirm Refuge in Buddha (Awakening within), Dhamma (Natural Reality-Truth we can discern personally), and Sangha (Community of ethical-spiritual practice, as our illusions of individuality are ‘all in this mess together’). Further, I take refuge in compassion, that is, opening myself as deeply as I can manage to the pain and suffering of people, wetlands, communities, insects, birds, frogs, icecaps … again too long a list. Opening and also committing to doing things I am capable of doing to address this massive suffering. And not judging myself for what I am not actually able to do or cannot do faultlessly. Plus, finding joy where I can, grounded in vulnerability and compassion. Lastly, bowing with profound gratitude for the Pali suttas, for Ajahn Buddhadasa’s guidance, to contemplative colleagues, to my beloved partner, and to our families both 2- and 4-legged. (Actually, never “lastly” as this is also a long list 😉

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