Sunday, 10 December 2017

Belonging in/to our Thoughts

2017 CBC Massey Lectures - In Search of a Better WorldOn Belonging:
I'm thinking more about the Rumi poem in my 'unfolding origami thoughts' post. The 'balance' and experience of the 'deepest presence' in oneself has made me reflect on what that means in my life. The result was another reflection on our intrinsic and uncompromisable need for human connections.

On Origami and Thought:
Origami is an accessible art form easily available to all ages. And the goal is creating something simple and beautiful. I think about peace and living well in the same way. Though I know these aren't simple concepts in and of themselves but the root of them is. Just as easy as it is to begin origami, it is that easy to find presence in a thought. A thought about wanting the same for others as you want for yourself.

This leads me to the November CBC's Massey lectures with *Payam Akahvan. His fourth lecture of the series, "In search of a better world", urges us to think about, "how long will we persist in the absurd belief that our welfare is separate from the welfare of others?"

On Thought and Humanness:
Even though the inspiration for his question came out of the world's apathetic response to the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and then America's impulsive response to the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001, we don't need to look too far to know the meaning of apathy when it comes to others.

There are 1200+ MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) in our country, Canada. There are probably as many missing/murdered men to match that stat.
I try to understand what the number even really means, and my child-like response kicks in. I tell myself, "well, I don't belong to that community, there's obviously a problem there", "...there are organizations to take care of these kinds of things, right?', "...I don't know any Indigenous people." Naturally, I think our minds unintentionally go into protection, problem-solving-deflection mode because that staggering news is too much to bear. There's also the belief (and hope) that we are separate from this reality because of the relative normalcy of our lives. Lastly, "I don't know what difference I can make" finally seals the thought box.

Beyond Thinking:
I have learned that the difference one can make is simple, listen. Begin by listening to the defensive and separatist thoughts in your own heart. Wonder about them. Write about them. Talk about them. It's ok. Accepting and thinking about others' suffering without having experienced it is hard work. Then, do something. This can be as passive as reading an article about the issue. Or, as (safely) active as joining a local social justice/action group on FB. It could also mean wondering about your own circle of friends' lives and finding that 'deepest presence' Rumi talked about when you ask how they are doing.

Living is walking with others. In thought and deed. In every aspect of life. It begins with a thought.


*Payam Akahavan - Is a human rights activist and was recently featured in CBC's Massey lectures 2017. It's a series of 5 lectures which can be listened to here:
Alternatively, they are in print form and can be found in stores and online.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, dear friend. I love reading your writing, your thoughts.