One of the many wonderful things about living in Los Angeles is the large amount of cultural activities and clubs there are to join. No matter what you’re into, you’re likely to find a group of people who are also into it.
One of the things that stirs my heart is social justice. There are many forms of injustice in the world, and in this country. Racial injustice is one that affects me personally.
Once a month, a group called Common Peace meets for what we call Race Relays – discussions on current topics regarding race. It is a mixed race group, though all of us are liberals, and most are activists or creatives of some kind. We would happily welcome conservatives, of course, should any express an interest in joining our mission.
In any case, yesterday we discussed racial injustice as a type of trauma that affects all races. We have all been negatively affected by headlines announcing unjustifiable and unpunished murders of black people in the streets of America. It makes all of us a little less safe, a little less democratic, a little less free. And our international reputation is tarnished.
But, despite the weight of these issues, simple anger is not enough. Anger is a great motivator. But only sincere attempts to understand one another, and take care of one another, will lead to lasting change. I think the solution is mostly spiritual rather than political, though we must work at the level of law and politics as well.
Only when we believe that we are our brother’s keeper; that there is more to our existence than making a living and fulfilling our private ambitions; that there is a life beyond this one that we should prepare for; and that happiness is something that we can attain if we work for it, will we put down our guns, and ugly words, and work together like decent, civilized people.
The poem below is one I wrote about the nature of impermanence. Everything that we think will bring us happiness will not and cannot last. The only things that last are the qualities of goodness, kindness, faith, generosity, gratitude, joy, etc. that constitute heaven on earth, or the Pure Land of Buddhism. It is not “Pollyanna” to say that we are capable of living in a heaven of our own making once we align our thinking and our behavior with our highest ideals.
Have a beautiful week of joy and good karma. I hope you enjoy the poem below.
May 10, 2016
I proudly held my crimson red balloon,
A prized possession tied to tiny wrist,
Embraced and safe, secure in childish bliss,
A knowing smile at pale and stalking moon.
But morning rays the night’s deceits undo,
My grand balloon compelled from royal crest,
Betrayed I felt – my shrunken god depressed.
Is ceaseless joy a dream for simple fools?
Yet heaven’s beckon stirs the wounded heart
And begs our weary limbs to reach again
This time for treasures real that do not rot
Nor die, decay, dissolve, nor plague with pain.
Nothing in this world will not depart
Save holy vows, through faith – Pure Land attain.