A lasting steadiness

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Cheffings (temple host) 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #3062

    As delegate at a big conference this weekend, I began with unskilful speech.

    I have been meeting with these 50 people for many years now. They represent Buddhists from across Europe – they are respected teachers, they run big centres, or they are the head of Buddhist Unions for their country, representing thousands of ordinary people who practice the Dharma. They are good people, and year on year as I get to know them my respect for them and, yes, my love for them, grows.

    In my first contact with a senior member of the group, I found myself making a disparaging remark about a mutual colleague who wasn’t present.

    Later I remembered the sharpness of my comment, and it stung me. There was no reason for me to say what I’d said.

    Of course, there was a reason. I find being in these large groups challenging. Can I get everyone to like me? Can I align myself with the people in power in order to feel more safe? Am I of any use to the group? When will they find out that I am actually a fraud?

    It isn’t easy to attend events like this and always be skilful. We all have our own vulnerabilities, our own hopes and needs, our own hobby horses, our own triggers and frustrations with each other.

    And, we can aspire to be different. We can ‘keep our own side of the street clean’. We can speak up. We can notice when we are triggered, and look at this ourselves or with a trusted friend, without ejecting it into the group as meanness or withdrawal.

    Above all, we can remember that none of us are perfect and we never will be. We can be kind to ourselves when we notice our unskilful behaviour, and do the same when observing others with their different struggles. We can move everso slowly in the direction of loving more and more of ourselves and others.

    We can be relieved that it’s not our job to love everyone perfectly. (Thank Buddha.)

    My sharpness entered into the group, and will have an effect. I regret that. And – I can see that we are all bumbling along with each other, doing our best. We are creating a web of golden threads. This fills me with warmth. We’re all in this together, you know.

    “One of the powers of the faith community is its capacity to provide a lasting steadiness through all the waverings of its individual members. When I cannot pray, the prayer of countless others goes on. When I am complacent, others are struggling. When I am in conflict, others are in peace. Most important, when I cannot act in loving ways, there are those in my communities who can.” ~ Gerald May

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  • #3070

    A ‘lasting steadiness’, something for me to mull over.

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