A great many people are feeling a great deal of despair in our Nation right now. There is the unspoken despair of those who aren’t really sure that the economy that emerged after the skid down of 2008 had any place for them (their place was pretty small before then and microscopic afterwards.) Some despair because they thought that life took a certain trajectory: for each generation your children do more and have more than you have.
Others despair because things are the problem—we are valuing their acquisition over human lives. (Start counting how many times you see a person texting on a smart phone walk by a person without a home and never notice.) Despair and trauma accompany the consciousness of the issues of mass incarceration in our nation which has caused eyes even unsympathetic ones to be opened to the extent to which a new industry of security in policing has been built on the box of our black and brown skin kin. As a result, things that should not be disposable, such as human lives, are valued less than an elite few’s ability to have access to goods and immediate information.
And as we are seeing this, all this despair, there is the despair of the new homeless, with a record number of people living in cars and in the streets which we see everyday passing from work and school and have learned not to see because the compassionate gesture is no longer enough. Amid all this, we face that every-four-year referendum on the purpose of our nation which is a national election, this time much less about proclamations of our common aspirations and much more about less about which is a national election.
With all this despair, it would be so easy to turn the way, to feel powerless, to feel disenfranchised. Instead, what if we pledge anew to engage for these last 4 weeks before the election, engage both with our world and communities and nation and its struggles and also engage with our own inner resources to connect to those sources of calm and presence which are greater than ourselves. Here is a meditation dedicated to all of us who know we cannot afford turn away. I am privileged to know many passionate and committed people, and I know that you are doing the good work of the world, it makes me grateful and hopeful to know that there are so many who do the day-to-day work to resist despair.
Spirit of Life, the world overwhelms us with its hatreds. Life can seem trapped within its divisions, its false expectations, its never-ending demands. All around us the world offers us challenges, noises, concerns. Sometimes it seems as if we can’t end the strife and dis-ease. And also, we are offered opportunities to touch calm as well. The trees give color to their leaves. Birds offer their sage advice in chirps and twitters. The morning stars bid us look for the magic in this day. And people do small acts of kindness for one another every day. Notice these well. To stay grounded in this crazy world, we must be able to find the calm center within our own knowledge, within our own heart, within the frame of meaning we create by the choices we make each day.
Help us remember that we can notice where the gifts abide. We can move past the places where the world is ugly and broken and find its hidden wholeness. We can listen to the wisdom which lives within your own being. We can notice the fullness of the world. And then its gifts are ours, solace and salve in a raucous world of motion and division. Touch the calm heart of knowing within and offer its gifts to the world. May we be the one to make it so.
Rev. Leslie Takahashi