The world of appearances is filled with the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance. Sometimes, our closest people have betrayed us. The world as it appears in conditioned reality and ordinary life, is filled with unpredictable and often unexplainable occurrences that definitely go against how we wish things would be. Because of our unfulfilled desires, we suffer. When I was teaching recently at the prison sangha, The Unpolished Diamond Sangha, one man laughed at me and said, “You might be able to trust out there, but in here, that seems almost impossible. There is almost nothing and no one that can be trusted.” That has stuck with me. How to respond to that? Is there something unconditioned that we can trust in?
~ From Byakuren’s Zen Practice blog.
I have experienced a lot of conflict and struggle over the past month or so. A lot of it hasn’t been centered on me, but because of my connections with those who are at the center, I have been drawn in. And I haven’t always handled it all skillfully.
What it comes down to is that the truths of certain situations have been difficult to sit with. Including the truth of not knowing what exactly the truth is, or how to move forward from that not knowing.
Impatience, acting out of old wounds, and a failure to locate and work from a deeper trust have been commonplace features. I’ve seen it in myself; I’ve seen it in others.
The thing about times like this is that appeals to simple nuggets of wisdom often don’t do much for folks. Saying the world is “ultimately good” or that we all are “good people deep down” doesn’t really help.
That “almost impossible” of the man from the prison sangha must be honored. It must be taken in and digested by each of us in order to find whatever is it that we can trust on a deeper level. Because that “almost impossible” lives, or has lived, within each of us. And it’s exactly during difficult times that it pokes its head out, challenging whatever trust in ourselves, others, and the world we have built up in the meantime.
From my vantage point, there are a lot of folks trying to come together in the spirit of peace, justice, and reconnection with the planet these days. That’s a beautiful thing, and I am one of these people. However, we must keep reminding ourselves how much damage has been done, and how many generations have been warped and wounded by that damage.
The violence of a thousand years isn’t going to be healed in a day, or a year. At the same time, no one knows when the tipping point towards peace and justice will come between any two people, groups, nations.
“There is almost nothing and no one that can be trusted,” is a place we need to keep returning to, it seems. Liberation seems to require it. I, for one, have never found any short cuts.
Trust @ Flickr
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