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 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?