It's solstice....a time for stopping and bringing our world into balance!
Breathing in, I calm myself Breathing out I smile. Breathing in, I see clearly that without the earth, sky and rain the flowers don't exist Breathing out, I see clearly that without the earth, sky and rain we don't either. -me
The following is from Sister Renee Yann a former Sister of Mercy from Philadelphia who is now retired -
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2015 10:09:29 AM Subject: Just Stop!
“Siste!” – “Just Stop!”
It is waning June. Up and down the long valleys of time, the earth moves toward Solstice, a word taken from the Latin “sistere” – to stop. In southern lands, winter begins its slow climb through the cold. In the North, summer rolls lazily through the heat toward the respite of autumn.
It is this beautiful magical earth that, just yesterday, Pope Francis tenderly placed once again in our hands with his encyclical letter "Laudato Si". Attentive to his challenge, I hold the earth this morning like a rosary, drawing its broken surface between the fingers of my prayer. Every bead is a country, a culture, a people, a species, an environment - a life - riddled with a corresponding violence. My fingertips ache with the pain of war, greed, violence and hate weeping from every bead.
And then my fingers pause on Calhoun Street and my soul kneels down in sorrow beside the brutalized Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Early Charleston summer fills the air with a soft scent of magnolias. History hangs in the fragrance - a history of immense courage against domination, of profound faith beyond oppression. Even the morning quiet suggests the mournful spirituals of the sainted generations who also invisibly weep within the now bloodstained sanctuary.
The hate which, for a moment, has violated this holy place is born of the same sin Pope Francis has placed squarely before us. It is the sin of believing that we are separate from one another. It is the sin of acting from the false superiority such pretense allows. The man who carried this sin to Calhoun Street found an evil nurture in the diseased moral culture for which we all have some responsibility.
As I pray this morning to be enlightened toward my own response, I ask the earth itself to teach me. I hear the wisdom of solstice suggest itself to my soul: "Solstice = Sol + Sistere; Sun + Stop". If the earth did not choose to stop each June and each December, the world would careen into a devastation of heat or cold. But, by an exquisite self-awareness, our earth chooses its perfect balance. She enlists me to do the same.
Might that be enough to begin this journey into the fullness of "Laudato Si" - just to stop those tendencies and choices in my life which place me in domination of any other creature? Might this have been enough to prevent the slaughter on Calhoun Street - just to stop the rhetoric and behaviors which feed separatism and prejudice?
Just to stop. With the solstice, it is at least enough to begin.
I hope you are all well and stopping on this summer's eve to enjoy interbeing with all that is.
It has been a very intense week, with the heartbreaking shootings in South Carolina. To see the horrific outcome of a mind conditioned with so much hatred, anger and violence will hopefully help us wake up to our true nature of interbeing. Sister Renee said it much more eloquently than I can.
It was helpful to me that in the same week, the Pope offered his encyclical on climate change which sounded very much like what Thay has been teaching us for many years and what the Buddha taught 2600 years ago. A powerful warning of the consequences to our species if we fail to cut through our illusion of separateness and wake up to our state of interdependency with each other and all that is.
It is also, of course, Father's Day. We will have an opportunity to stop and deepen our experience of interbeing on Sunday evening at 6 PM. We will be gathering at our home at 725 Matunuck School House Rd. in Wakefield and enjoy sitting meditation honoring the father in us and outdoor walking meditation -if it is not pouring with rain...I will offer a short talk on transforming our unskillful states of mind and freeing ourselves from the delusion of our separateness... based on this quote from Albert Einstein
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest -a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
...and we will share the Dharma. I hope you will be able to be with us.
The Cape Sangha Retreat is now filled for all of the residential spaces. There are still a few openings for commuters and they are maintaining a waiting list. So if you would like to join us, please go to joannefriday.com/calendar as soon as you can, and you will find all of the registration forms and information.
I do hope that you will be able to be with us tomorrow evening and I offer a deep bow to all of you who are fathers and to the fathers alive in all of us.
with much love and gratitude for interbeing with all of you, Joanne