I am having a “slow morning” as they say. It’s been a busy few days, A large Buddhist burial for a young man in Marin County who was run over and killed by a car as he was out celebrating a new job, plans for marriage, and house-hunting to have begun this week. He was run over by a teen-aged woman who stopped immediately and called 911 but it was too late. He was dead and she lives with the fact of having directly participated in someone’s death. Both sides just out for an evening with a life and future opening up in some fashion.
From a Buddhist point of view it’s one more instance of something being played out that is a result of actions set into motion in the past, and the resulting feelings now engendered become part of future actions, and so it all goes on and on.
There would be no teaching or learning happening if there were not an apparent and actionable solution for cycles set into motion. The teaching for this is what a lot of Buddhist practice points to. We can learn to respond and react to the world carefully, considerately and compassionately. We can practice this by being still within, and watching and observing through self-awareness, over time, that our feelings come and go and can influence our actions and responses with seemingly irrevocable consequences.
Yet, anything can be amended over time; with care, with love, with good-will and intention. To amend just means to make something better than it currently is. We can actively participate in changing how we view the world and its conditions and our place in it. This takes time, effort and patience and the result tends to be that we can be softer and easier on others and ourselves. In other words, we can live more carefully and put fewer future consequences into motion for ourselves and others. Now and in the future.
That funeral was a teaching for everyone who attended. After it was over, people went on and got lunch, bought gas or groceries and watered their garden and loved and fought and talked and thought and got brought back in to the swirl of life that seemingly has lots of time for feeding good feelings, as the antidote for bad feelings, and the cycle continues. That life is a constant and not episodic teaching isn’t readily apparent often because we seem to prefer and respond to events, rather than flow.
I am the only one who can interrupt this cycle of being moved by feelings and thinking that is all there is, and wondering why there doesn’t seem to be more. I am the only one who can do that for me, and I can’t do it for anyone else. I am the solution to the problems of life and the “world”. My life, my world.
Yikes! Often I’m just not ready for that; but it seems very true.
It is not a gigantic enterprise but it has huge impact in the same way that raindrops, when joined by others, can change the world in creating life, habitat, sustenance, growth as well as floods, droughts and various lacks depending on conditions that change constantly.
We, individually, can change the world, this one and a future one by how we are in it.
It doesn’t’t require heroics or drama, rather small efforts to be still and to see, to listen, to do, to not do, to help, to offer love, compassion and sympathy, for others and to ourselves, because we aren’t lost we are just little bewildered at times.
A burial on a hillside into hand-dug hole
Wrapped in a cotton sheet with
Hundreds of friends and family
Positioned, once again, to examine
The great question for all of us. Why?
Why, indeed? On the other hand, why not?