2017 Year-End Message

“No mud, no lotus.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear ones,

The year ends and we begin a new circuit around our own beautiful sun star, twirling amidst the galaxies.

Take a breath, quiet your heart and listen deeply.
There is so much coming and going, and yet…
feel how underneath it all is a vast silence
and a spaciousness that holds everything in its balance.

This was a powerful change time for me and for many: the death of my twin brother and of other dear friends, the birth of several babies to those close to me, the wild politics, and the growing concerns for the welfare of the most vulnerable in our society and our world. Amidst it all I was able to offer teachings with my beloved Trudy, to share dharma in China, and start a fabulous teacher training with Tara Brach for 300 meditators from across the globe.

Living in these seasons of change, I feel deep gratitude for the teachings of the dharma and for being connected to a loving community.

In the long run, I am hopeful.
Yes, in human incarnation there are inevitable periods of difficulty, personal and collective. Yet with wisdom and a good heart, our personal sufferings can temper us and help us live with dignity and find an indestructible spirit in ourselves. And in the same way, we can learn to bear the difficulties of the world with compassion and courageously do what we can to mend the broken places.

Yet difficulties are never the end of the story. There is always a return of the light.

Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s, Kwanza and Chanukah are outer celebrations of an unstoppable renewal that is life itself. There is always grass that pushes itself through the cracks in the sidewalk. You are this life force constantly being reborn every morning at breakfast.

And while the news often features the worst of humanity, there are a billion acts of human kindness every hour of every day. Take another breath and sense this truth.

Recognize that even the big problems—the environment, human justice, refugees, violence—are part of a long march demanding us to honor our human connection, our interdependence with all life.

Our fears and terrors can be activated by the news, but they are not who we are.
We are consciousness itself, loving awareness, born into this body and having a wild human ride. What will you do with this human dance?

A most trustworthy and blessed project is to align yourself with compassion,
to plant seeds of goodness, to use the creative force of your life to bring understanding, awakening and love to all. Foster trust in life’s renewal power.

Martin Luther King, Jr. describes our collective journey with hope:
“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
And Pablo Neruda explains further,
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

Renewal is happening.
Take quiet time to listen to your heart, to meditate and to rest amidst the great turnings.
Feel the renewal of spring that can be born in you.
Align yourself with goodness.
Let yourself blossom like a lotus or whatever unique flower you are,
shining in the world, offering tiny seeds of love amidst it all.

Blessings to you in 2018,
Jack

Find Peace

 

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