All Means All
Maria Schuchardt and I attended an interfaith community coalition gathering called ‘Dare to Care’ in support of LGBTQIA+ youth last Saturday afternoon at St Francis in the Foothills. (https://www.stfrancisinthefoothills.org/dare-to-care)
We weren’t part of the program. We were there to listen and absorb what was said. We heard a lot of stuff about how kids who do not fit the gender norms are treated by society, by schools, by the medical establishment, by lawmakers, by any group of individuals who choose to label them as ‘other’. The pain, anguish and fear present in the room broke my heart. The gathering of this roomful of people, and their intention to create a coalition to support and assist these young people in living full and healthy lives left me feeling a little encouraged, and a little challenged. There’s a chasm between what I know is the spiritual truth of every individual and what I recognize as each individual’s physical experience.
This is not that different from the gathering a handful of us had almost two months ago, after the recent Roe-v-Wade ruling came out. What is the highest truth of the situation, what is our experience, and how do we have to change our minds about that? And then… what actually is ours to do? And how do we do that work?
In the daily morning practice group Saturday morning, I shared Dr Kenn Gordon’s daily guide in the Science of Mind monthly magazine. He quoted part of a paragraph from Dr Ernest Holmes, (The Science of Mind 303.2). “When Jesus said, ‘Resist not,’ He meant that non-recognition of evil is the only way to avoid it. This is true according to the law of cause and effect. For what we persist in recognizing, we persist in holding in place. What which we refuse to recognize, we neutralize, and it is no longer there, as far as we are concerned.”
That is absurdly hard when I see something in the world that seems so antagonistic to my notion and experience of goodness. And yet, as religious scientists, it is our first line of action. When we can know this perfectly, and give no energy to the contrary experience, the contrary experience must dissipate.
A blogging friend of mine, who studies brain science and life, made a case in his Sunday morning blog (https://floweringbrain.wordpress.com/2022/08/14/honoring-and-supporting-the-wisdom-of-grandmothers- brain/) for having grandmothers ‘run things’. His reasoning was that grandmothers had raised their own children, and then supported their children in raising their own children, so they had some wisdom and useful experience in troubleshooting hard things. He concluded by saying that grandmothers had access to the six ‘transcendent perfections’: generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, meditative concentration and wisdom, which would be helpful in managing our collective experience.
In my Sunday talk, I challenged those present to think about the actions and practices they could do in support of wisdom and right action, and the shared Oneness that is the capital T-truth of our existence. How can we be (even more) the presence of Love in the world? I ask the same question here and I offer Thich Nhat Hanh’s Metta Meditation (paraphrased) from his book How To Love.
Preparation: Sit still and calm your body and breath. Sitting still, you aren’t too preoccupied with other matters. Begin practicing this love meditation on yourself. Until you are able to love, and take care of yourself, you can’t be of much help to others.
May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love. May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself. May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
After you are able to love and take care of yourself,
you can practice knowing these truths for, and about, others:
First for someone you like,
then for someone neutral to you,
then for someone you love,
and finally, for someone the mere thought of whom makes you feel suffering.
After practicing Metta Meditation for a while, you may discover you can think of them all with genuine compassion.
–Rev Janis Farmer