Freedom from Harm, Cultivating Love in 2021

Freedom from Harm, Cultivating Love in 2021

As we birth ourselves into 2021, and all it brings with it, we can take time to look purposefully toward the next four years, and what we will create. The past carries a great deal of heavy baggage that we seek to find a way to dismantle — even though it is messy and complex. We look forward to a future of intentionality where we can reconstruct healing modalities and build new relationships with a focus on mutual consideration and no harm for all.

The Buddha spoke these words 2,600 years ago, putting forth the path to this end:

Abandon wrongdoing.
It can be done.
If there were no likelihood, I would not ask you to do it.
But since it is possible
and since it brings blessing and happiness,
I do ask of you:
abandon wrongdoing.

Cultivate doing good.
It can be done.
If it brought deprivation and sorrow, I would not ask you to do it.
But since it brings blessing and happiness,
I do ask of you:
cultivate doing good.
-Anguttara Nikaya

How do we undertake this task? We can begin with taking a deep breath and settling down into our body and the present moment. We start where we are. As we soften, we can sense the impact of our own heart and begin to connect with the heart of others. Jack Kornfield says “make your heart a zone of peace.”

From this place of wise-heart centered being, we can make choices to live in harmony with humanity. We are motivated to see the ways we have closed certain individuals and groups out, labeling them as different, stereotyping them as lesser than, failing to grasp their talents, qualities, and genius.

Sebene Selassie in her new book You Belong speaks about “The Doctrine of Two Truths” found in certain schools of Buddhism. They are the absolute or ultimate truth of interconnection and the relative or conventional truth of difference. These terms might seem contradictory but they are not. She says “Belonging flourishes with this paradox: everything is connected, yet everything is experienced as separate.” This tells us that there is a unity under all distinctions and that we experience the world through separate circumstances.

Opening to possibilities that this new time brings we can help to heal the world.