I Want to be Better

Last Sunday I spoke about racism (click here). I ended the sermon with: “I know it’s odd for a minister in our denomination to say this…we’re always telling people they are whole, perfect, and complete… but right now I just want to be better.”

We closed with this poem by Shantideva, a manifesto of surrender that invites us to relieve the suffering of all beings.

Today, I personalized the poem:

May I abide in the place where my highest being informs my doing.

May I see human-constructed evil while holding the possibility for infinite good.

May I redefine survival.  Compassion is the new survival.

May I honor the opinions of all, knowing that no one holds the monopoly on Truth. Including me.  Unknowing is my new knowing.

May I practice relentlessly.

I will educate myself on being black in America, reading, watching, and listening.  (Link is Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, by Emmanuel Acho).

I will hold the hard line of reconciliation in a world desperate to polarize. I believe in a power beyond opposites. A Third Force holds all sides of any condition and nudges us towards a true win/win.  I will be a living embodiment of the Third Force.

I will sacrifice my comfort to support the well-being of others.

I will ask questions – “What is it like to be you?” “What brings you joy?” “How can I help?”

The mind forms the questions.  Our bodies, feelings, and experiences point the way.  I will feel deeply and mindfully.

I will not settle for less than compassion for all.

And when I fail, which I will every day, I am no longer ashamed of my shame. Even shame can be a celebration, an opportunity to learn and say, “I understand! Thank you for this lesson. I can do better next time.”

May I be kind. And so it is.

Do you long to help?  What is one small action in being or doing that you can invite and inspire? 


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1 Response to I Want to be Better

  1. Deana Sherry says:

    “I want to be better” is true for all of us I believe– or could be if we really see oursleves. I thank you for sharing it. Knowing ourselves fully is a step in understanding others. Loving ourselves and knowing our history and seeing what has shaped and formed us is important. Thank you for the links to Emmanuel Acho. I’ve taken equity classes and workshops, and Black Studies and Chicano Studies back in my early college days, and Religious Studies over the years to learn our history. I love language and how it forms our thoughts. I am fascinated by our cultures and beliefs as people all over the world. My own identity as an adoptee has been interesting to find and understand myself and my roots. I learned how important it is to know myself so I can interact more authentically with others. Being fully ourselves I believe we find greater love and expression. We encourage each other. Listening and sharing our stories help. Shame can be our teacher. I love the Shantideva prayer. I love your authenticity. 💕


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