Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Celebrate Liberty Right Here, Right Now

Along the lines of satya for an Independence Day Celebration:

"Meditation is really about freedom. It is first and foremost a liberative practice. It is a way of being that gives us back our life, and our happiness, right here, right now – that wrests it from the jaws of unawareness and habits of inattention and somnambulance that threatens to imprison us in ways that can be as painful, ultimately, as losing our outward freedoms. And one way it frees us is from continually making the same unwise decisions when the consequences of such are staring us right in the face and could be apprehended if only we would look, and actually see.

"For all these reasons, mindfulness can be a natural catalyst in deepening and broadening democracy, a democracy in which liberty is embodied not only in our rhetoric and in our laws and institutions and how they are implemented in practice, as important as that is, but also in our hard-earned wisdom as individual citizens, stemming from looking deeply into and feeling from inside our true nature, a wisdom that is embodied in our hearts and in our love for the interior landscapes of the mind and the heart. The more we become intimate with that landscape, the more we can participate effectively in society, in the appreciation of the beauty and unique potential of all of us. The more people come to know this terrain, the more we will all benefit from sharing in a distributive wisdom and goodwill of mutual regard that can translate into healthier communities and a healthier society, and a nation that knows its priorities and lives them in the world with authentic and unwavering reverence and respect.

"That kind of liberty cannot know borders. If others are not free, then in a very real way, we cannot be completely free or at peace either, just as we cannot be completely healthy in an unhealthy world."

John Kabat-Zinn, Coming to Our Senses, pp. 566-68

And this from MLK:

"Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites – polar opposites – so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love. We’ve got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our time."

--Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967