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When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
He who speaks from the lips chatters. He who speaks from an empty mind adds confusion to discord. He who speaks from a full mind feeds the minds of men. He who speaks from his heart wins the confidence of mankind. But he who speaks from his soul heals the heartbreaks of a world and feeds the hungry, starving souls of men. He can dry the tears of anguish and pain. He can bring light, for he will carry light.
Somewhere along the journey of remembering who we really are, we may find ourselves in a very uncomfortable space, a void in which we realize that we haven’t totally let go of our old beliefs, and on the other hand we have yet to fully plug into the new truths we have discovered. This awkward place of mind can bring on an internal crisis of uncertainty, instability, confusion, frustration, and a most unspeakable despair as the dark night sets in and makes its presence felt.
Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision. While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.
It’s hard to pin down what the politics would be, in a way. For me the politics are very visual and felt, thought, seen, but not necessarily put into words. The confusions and conditions within the work are the politics. The fact that a lot of the time the first thing people want to talk to me about is the racial angle, which is a part of the work and I am happy to talk about it, but it’s not necessarily the first thing on my mind when I am making something.
We live in a supermarket of ideas, faiths, practices, theories, ideologies, and much else besides. Never in human history have there been so many movements and ideas struggling to attract our attention. Added to this, the Western world is swamped by material goods and the Western mind is dominated by the goal of material success. In all this confusion, Zen stands out as a voice of sanity. It represents a different way of seeing the world, one based upon the rediscovery of who we really are and have always been, through revealing to us our true nature.