Updated: May 23, 2019
The image above is one that I love so very much. It reminds me of the interdependent nature of all of life. But this is a very broad view. On the personal plane, we are conditioned beings who are constantly in the process of creating the conditions for the next moment. Every choice we make becomes a highly influential part of who we become. What we choose to put in our bodies, what we choose to read or watch, and who we choose to spend our time with is the actual material of which we are constructed. We are not only what we eat but also what we watch, read, and spend time with. This fact becomes more and more real for me as I dive deeper into contemplative practice. Just as when we purify our physical body we begin to feel what is impure much more intensely, as we calm the heart and mind, the toxicity of what is readily available from and commonplace within our conventional society becomes more noticeable. We can react in one of two ways: turn away or turn towards. To turn away is to deny what is actually happening and its effect on so many beings. To turn toward is to trust in our infinite capacity. The mind is infinite and so is our capacity for compassion. This is what meditation and contemplative practice prepares us to do; to embrace the world through compassionate and loving understanding. Just as we struggle, so do all people struggle. Just as we long to be happy, so do all beings. When we realize this, our compassionate capacity broadens as does our bravery to face a toxic world. As our capacity grows so does our potential to save all beings from suffering. This is our practice.