I sat in my studio the other day, just stewing and brewing. Pretty much it was stewing and brewing over things which are absolutely out of my control. The us vs. them of American politics. The resulting racism that has (re)surfaced because people really believe that hate is okay if you don't agree with this policy or that policy and call it a threat to freedom. The senselessness of who gets to live and who dies. A tender, innocent, beautiful young child. Dead. While a racist, homophobic lives on to randomly do violence as he sees fit, in that name of what he justifies as "right." The absurdity of how people with more money got help first in the aftermath of the East Coast storms, while the people with less money were told to expect to be without...without...without...
It's beyond ridiculous. It's beyond anything I can reasonably make sense of when I sit in the stew and brew.
And then as I sat there, something caught my eye.
The sun through the window changed angle and glinted off the glass jar I use to hold my paint brushes and knives. And I began staring at the light. As the light changed and moved, I began to notice the creative tools in the jar. I became conscious of the fact that the jar is overflowing with creative possibility. This little glass jar, glittering with sky light, is full of treasure. It is abundant. Full of peaceful possibility. Of course there is equal possibility for the gems in this treasure to be used to create evil, too.
But that was even more miraculous to me. Here was this abundance of beauty and tools. All available for use. And it is my choice, moment by moment, paint stroke by paint stroke, if I put them to use for good or evil.
For some reason, this struck me as incredibly hopeful. If I could come to a place to see the abundance of tools at my fingertips -- and then come to see that the good or evil resulting from their use is up to me -- well, anyone could have the same epiphany, too! Right? Either with their own process of learning and slowing down and waking up OR through some process of learning meditation or mindful presence or something with others.
I'm not saying that this fixes the unfairness of a child dying while a violent numskull lives. But it might be a turning point for the bereaved person left behind after the child's death. Or who knows? It might be that the violent numskull gets caught in his racist crime and is thrown in a jail where mindfulness teachers offer meditation as part of rehabilitation.
I'm not saying that this epiphany fixes the classism that plays out in the world where the poor are helped last or least. But working with the abundance of whatever is present certainly seems to have helped break open new ideas in Africa where four teen girls have invented a generator that is powered by urine! Or the teenagers in Nepal who invented a solar panel that uses human hair (from a hair brush) instead of silicon!
I'm just saying that it is *possible* that anyone, anywhere, whatever has come before, there is always the possibility that their hearts might open to sitting still. To opening their mind and heart to release the chaos of thoughts long enough to notice some small bit of beauty and abundance that is right in front of them. Pema Chodron says it much better than I ever could:
OUR WHOLE LIFE COULD BE A RITUAL
"We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea."
~Pema Chodron, Wisdom of No Escape