“The quieting of our mind is a political act. The world does not need more oil or energy or food. It needs less greed, less hatred, less ignorance. If we have inadvertently taken on the political bitterness or cynicism that exists externally, we can stop and begin to heal our own suffering, our own fear, with compassion. Through meditation and inner transformation, we can learn to make our hearts a place of peace and integrity. Each of us knows how to do this. As Gandhi acknowledged, “I have nothing new to teach this world. Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills.” It is our inner nobility and steadiness that we must call upon in our personal and collective difficulties. It is our inner nobility and steadiness that we must call on in our personal and collective difficulties.
FACING THE TRUTH
Once we learn to quiet our mind, the second step for the bodhisattva is seeing the truth. We deliberately turn toward the difficulties of the world and shine the light of understanding. “The enemy,” said Ajahn Chah, “is delusion.” Delusion blames others, creates enemies, and fosters separation. The truth is that we are not separate. War, economic injustice, racism, and environmental destruction stem from the illusion of separateness. It is delusion that separates us from other human tribes and from the trees and the oceans on this increasingly small planet. When we look truthfully, we can also see that no amount of material and scientific advancement will solve our problems alone. New computer networks, innovative fuels, and biological advances can just as easily be diverted to create new weapons, exacerbate conflicts, and speed environmental degradation. Economic and political change will fail unless we also find a way to transform our consciousness. It is a delusion that endless greed and profit, hatred and war will somehow protect us and bring us happiness.”