The Next Buddha is Sangha

This transitional week creates opportunity for each of us to activate the power of intention and resolve, setting direction to actualize our deepest potential.  Spend time in reflection to appreciate how much you have grown this year and identify areas of potential. When we note progress, faith in practice and study grows.

We have witnessed eruptions of violence and hatred on a global scale, from Ferguson to Australia, Pakistan, New York, Hong Kong, Berkeley….   Increasingly, many face physical, emotional, mental and spiritual hardship in escalating crises, struggling to handle fear and polarization (by religion, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, economic status and political affiliation) that drive hatred.  Often we use practice as a way to spiritually bypass the pain and sorrow of collective suffering.  The sorrow of the world is as much our business as our own sorrow.

It may seem fantastical to imagine dissolving polarization.  Yet, that fantasy must become reality. Our planetary and species survival depends on our willingness to abandon existing paradigms based on blame, prejudice, exploitation, and fear and recognize that “we are tied together in a single garment of destiny” (Martin Luther King). Solutions that unite us in diversity are needed now.  It begins with us.

Contemplate where you are polarized, internally and externally.  What keeps you polarized and inflexible?  Imagine a universe in which we each offer love, wisdom, generosity and ethical action in every encounter, including with ourselves.  We dream this world together.  Can we dream a world that values all sentient beings (human and non-human), creating peace in each life and throughout the Earth?  Can this be our personal and collective intention and resolve?

Happy and peaceful 2015.

With metta,
Gina Sharpe
Guiding Teacher