Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, November 15, 2021

Bring It On

Please Call Me by My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh


…I am the frog swimming happily

in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake

that silently feeds itself on the frog.


I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant,

selling deadly weapons to Uganda…


My joy is like Spring, so warm

it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears,

so vast it fills the four oceans.


Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.


Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up,

and so the door of my heart

can be left open,

the door of compassion.



Ah, on this dark morning, as the sun struggles grudgingly to arrive

I ponder.


Always a dangerous thing.


I cogitate, chewing on things that are difficult to swallow.

Why are we human creatures so obstinate?

Why are we so cruel?


What is it that drives us to embrace a toxic individualism which destroys not only ourselves but also others? Why can we not embrace the common good?


Perhaps it is because we cannot accept that when the light comes there are shadows.  This is the danger of the light, even the light of the World.  Those rays can be harsh and revealing. 


When the light comes, we can see if we will only look, our reflection shimmering on the hard ground.


What do we see there?

If we are honest, we see that we are beautiful and terrible.

Good and bad.

Right and wrong.


There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us.

And we will be forever controlled by that part of ourselves we do not see.


If we only see the good and do not see the bad, we cannot grow, we cannot change.  If we do not see our contribution to the ills of the world, our culpability, then we will continue to harm and destroy.


I cannot lament injustice and inequity if I cannot understand how I contribute to injustice and inequity.


America, after 9/11, refused to see its contribution to that event.  And when have spent 20 years killing and being killed as a result.  White America, as it refuses to see its contribution to black anger, is unable to develop true solutions to the inequity and injustice suffered by black people.


I am the person lamenting hate and toxic individualism,

I am the person who hates and who hugs resources to myself.


On the other hand, if I cannot see the good in myself.  If I cannot rejoice in the fact that I am a child of God.  That I am a bearer of the Sacred, I will not have the joy needed by a joyless world.  I will not be able to have the hospitality needed by a world alienated and divided.  I will not be able to overcome evil with good 


We need both the joy and the tears,

We need to throw open the doors of our souls and let it all spill out, everything that is in there, treasures and debris, and let the fresh wind of the spirit cleanse us and refresh us,


so that we and the world can be whole.

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