The martial arts school I used to go to sits on the corner of a busy intersection. I just read that someone smashed one of the huge windows that face the street. With so much of this sort of thing in the news these days, I’m not sure why this particular act of vandalism hit me so hard. I try not to get sucked into the whirlpool of outrage and fear that seems to have gripped our communities. I try instead to step back into a broader perspective, touching everything with compassion, staying centered in equanimity.
But this, this rocked me back and sat me down with a plop, awash in sadness. At first, I thought to go to my cushion and meditate myself back into peace. But why would I do that? Sadness is here, now. Why am I judging it or wanting to escape it? Yes, it is not pleasant or comfortable. Although not crushing or devastating, it does hurt a little. Can I accept that and just be with it? Can I allow the feelings to flow freely without telling a story about them or wanting them to be different?
So I did sit on my cushion, and invited sadness to join me. Sadness brought its friend compassion, compassion for myself and for my community. And right in the center of sadness and compassion, I found peace and equanimity.
As your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal. ~Joanna Macy
[The photo is me with my teacher, Master Rai, the night I got my black belt.]