Loving Life As It Is…With All Its Imperfections

A while back, I loaned a friend of mine, Felicia, my copy of the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodren’s wonderful CD set Unconditional Confidence.

Last night I got a voice mail saying she thought I might enjoy hearing an interview from another Buddhist, Joanna Macy that was done by On Being’s  Krista  Tippets, titled A Wild Love for the World.

It was one of those “Life is mysterious” moments, when someone–whether a friend or a passerby–says something to you or shares something with you that is exactly what you needed.

This was one of those times. 

In the interview, Joana Macy shares what she has learned from Buddhism, and 80 plus years of life, about loving the world despite all its imperfections and its darkness.

I was feeling down because of my deep concerns about the state of our nation and the trajectory we seem to be taking, as well as the escalating chaos and march toward even greater oppression from a number of fronts throughout the world.

I didn’t like the anger I was feeling. I didn’t want my deep concern and frustration to turn me into one of those people we’ve all encountered, who simmer with self-righteous outrage, who–no matter how accurate their perception and valid their message–turn off others with their rage and vituperous screeds.

So…her interview and her insights were such a balm, including this poem from Rilke:

“Quiet friend who has come so far,

feel how your breathing makes more space around you.

Let this darkness be a bell tower

and you the bell. And as you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.

Move back and forth into the change.

What is it like, this intensity of pain?

If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,

be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,

the meaning discovered there.

And if the world shall cease to hear you,

say to the silent earth: I flow.

And to the rushing water speak, I am.”

If you find yourself wrestling with accepting what is, while continuing to strive to make the world a better place, I think you will find comfort in Joana Macy’s wisdom.

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