I read this over four months ago in the Buddhist meditation service at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. So far, these weekly services have been the best Christian meetings I've attended here. The irony of that statement is not lost on me. I wonder if it's possible to be a believing Christian and a practicing Buddhist. In my case probably yes, as I would suck at both. Anyway, here's what I read.
Caught in the self-centered dream, only suffering.
Holding to self-centered thoughts, exactly the dream.
Each moment, life as it is, the only teacher.
Being just this moment, compassion’s way.
I have no idea who wrote this, and at first reading it made little sense. Here's what I now think it means.
It seems to be progression. Self-centered thoughts emerge from our subconscious, reacting without thinking to situations that might, but seldom do, call for self-protection. We can't help that, as we often just unconsciously react out of fear, anger, avoidance, or judgment. We do that instinctively. But the dream can become conscious, if we let it. At that point, we have a choice. We can let our now conscious self-centered thoughts lead to actions that carry us to suffering or we can learn to step back, take a breath and live in the moment. The moment itself will teach us how to live with compassion, again if we let it.
Richard Rohr writes that "Great religion seeks utter awareness and full consciousness, so we can, in fact, receive all. Everything belongs and everything can be received. We don't have to deny, dismiss, defy or ignore. “What Is” is okay. “What Is” is the great teacher. I think the "What Is" Rohr writes about is the moment, the foundation of which is love.
We are faced daily with words, actions and events that we simply don't understand. These might come from ISIS, co-workers, family, friends, corrections officers, or inmates. How do we react? Maybe we should step back, take a breath, so that we can live and love in the moment. The issues we face still may not make sense; BUT THEY MIGHT. There's a chance that we'll learn and grow.
In the words of the noted philosopher Jim Carey in the thoughtful movie "Dumb and Dumber", "...so you're telling me there's a chance." There's always a chance that compassion will rule the day, or at least the moment.
It's worth a shot.