September 14, 2010

The Power of an Open Question - Situations We Can't Fix

"How do we respond to situations intelligently and with care, knowing we can't fix them?" There's a koan for you.

We can work in a soup kitchen, we can vote, we can recycle, we can adopt stray animals, sign petitions, bring our neighbor soup when he's sick, provide shelter to those in need, throw out an evil dictator, express love in care in every possible situation . . . and what could be more noble? But it still won't change the fact that the world of things is ultimately unfixable.

Mahatma Gandhi, the foremost proponent of nonviolent action the world has ever known, devoted his life to working toward Indian independence from the British Empire. His bravery and intelligence lit up the world. Yet look at India and Pakistan since Partition . . . still in conflict. This doesn't reflect shortcomings on the part of Mahatma Gandhi. It just illustrates that the world of things will never reach a state of peaceful equilibrium. It will never satisfy us. It will never quench our thirst, even for peace.

- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, The Power of an Open Question

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel’s Tricycle Retreat is happening now on Tricycle.com! Join the Tricycle Community to enjoy the retreat and get her book, The Power of an Open Question, at 30% off.

[Image: radicaleye]

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Who's gonna smash the state?'s picture

Reality isn't easy to define
Like turning water into whine
It's a dream of fact based on fiction
Everything you do has restrictions
Everyone has their own definition
The record shops got plastic nutrition
music is the food of love
But reality is waiting for a bus

It's too easy to get cynical
And make the problem clinical
But in which direction do you turn?
Do you preach or do you burn?
Pamphlets blowing out in the breeze
A mother on her weeping knees
"Reality" is on the news at ten
But the bus to work is late again

- subhumans