So today I just want to thank you for the reminder to not run, not that I can physically run anyway (LOL). I was looking for quotes about being present I could use for the thoughts for the day this month, when I stumbled upon this powerful reminder from Geri Larkin in The Still Point Dhammapada. “
Being upright means staying smack dab in the middle of what's going on. No running away. No pretending that the situation is any different than it is. It means breathing in and out and listening to our heart. And asking only one question: What can I do right this minute? Sometimes I think of it as "mountain and river" practice. Detroit is all too often a mountain of heartbreaks and a river of sorrows. All I can do is look for cracks where some help can be offered. Sometimes I can only witness. Some days I can only pick up garbage or make the first call to a shelter or delete the email and chant for the person who wrote it.
For me, the most powerful message is that I need to stop running away. I would like to be able to say I have never run away from anything in my life, but I would be lying. I have definitely done my share of running away from situations, running away from conflicts, running away from problems, running away from my feelings. You would think with all this running, I would have been on somebody’s track team, but I have not. The one thing I have learned in my life is that running does not take me closer to my goal, or help me fulfill my purpose in life; it takes me away from my goal and detracts from my ability to fulfill my life’s purpose.
So when I stop running and I stand, and breathe deeply, then I am able to seek out what it is I am supposed to do in the moment.
I don’t live in Detroit, nor do I have to, to know what it is like to be in a world filled with “mountains of heartbreaks” and river(s) of sorrows. It reminded me of a quote I read years ago by Shirley Caeser who said, “I cannot sweeten the Atlantic Ocean, but I can take a pitcher out of the ocean and sweeten that.” So like Larkin, I need to remember to stay in the situation and so whatever I can. I may not be able to eradicate all the problems in the world, but I can do what I can. I can educate my students. I can send emails, write letters, work to gather clothes for the homeless. Every little thing I do helps to alleviate the sorry and suffering in this world. I can stop running from the suffering in the world by focusing my energy on sweetening the one pitcher of suffering I can.
I also have to stop running from the mountains in my own life. It is, as Miley Cyrus once sang, not about the mountain, but about the way I climb it. I cannot climb a mountain in my life, by trying to run away from it. I must face it and know that in collaboration with the Ultimate Consciousness I can climb the mountain one step at a time. I can overcome the “mountains of heartbreaks” and the “river of sorrow,” which have flowed in my life. By no longer running, I can help to transform the flow of the river and transform it from a river of sorrow to one that brings me to the ocean of your love, peace, and wisdom. So today, I just want to thank you for reminding me not to run.
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