I read this morning about the battle at Gettysburg. I visited there when I was 11 or 12, but I didn't fully comprehend how in danger Washington D.C, and the North were until reading this book. Lee lost 28,000 people at Gettysburg, nearly a third of his army. The North lost 23,000. It is hard to comprehend such a battle, and such losses. Each time I read the numbers, I feel I should cry, and yet, somehow, I can't. It is all so unimaginable to me.
Sometimes, I think California should secede from the union. The energy crisis of 2000-2001 in California, due to deregulation and greed to the point of theft, was inexcusable. California wants tougher environmental and food standards. The Bush administration doesn't and wants to legislate over what we want. California could easily survive on its own, but when I read this book, and see the lives lost to keep all the states together, well, I think as Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?"
So, now, I Wikipedia Rodney King. He received 3.8 million in a civil suit against the LAPD, and is currently bankrupt and in a drug rehab center. Again, I feel sad.
I bought a Zen and Now clock which chimes to awaken one gently. It is however quite loud, and I seem to have not figured out it's programming yet, which is actually quite simple, but I want it to be complex, so it is chiming away, and maybe that is what I need, the chime, chime, chiming, awakening me to the constant interplay of joy and sorrow.
Rilke, Lou Andreas-Salome, and Freud were interested in the psyche, in bringing the unconscious to light. We have continued to evolve and study the unconscious, and yet, when I read of Rodney King and that he seemed unable to access help that might have changed his life, again, I feel sad.
Sometimes, it seems we need to dig up a plant, and shake the dirt off the roots, and re-plant.
Thich Nhat Hanh was interviewed by Melvin McLeod in the March issue of Shambhala Sun.
I offer a part of the interview.
Thich Nhat Hanh:
"Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself - it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it's clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice."
McLeod asks, "Why don't we love ourselves?"
Thich Nhat Hanh:
"We may have a habit within ourselves of looking for happiness elsewhere than in the here and now. We may lack the capacity to realize that happiness is possible in the here and now, that we already have enough conditions to be happy right now. The habit energy is to believe that happiness is not possible now, and that we have to run to the future in order to get some more conditions for happiness. That prevents us from being established in the present moment, from getting in touch with the wonders of life that are available in the here and now. That is why happiness is not possible."
"To go home to the present moment, to take care of oneself, to get in touch with the wonders of life that are really available - that is already love. Love is to be kind to yourself, to be compassionate to yourself, to generate images of joy, and to look at everyone with eyes of equanimity and nondiscrimination."
"That is something to be cultivated. Non-self can be achieved. It can be touched slowly. The truth can be cultivated. When you discover something, in the beginning you discover only part of it. If you continue, you have a chance to discover more. And finally you discover the whole thing. When you love, if your love is true, you begin to see that the other person is a part of you and you are a part of her or him. In that realization there is already non-self. If you think that your happiness is different from their happiness, you have not see anything of non-self, and happiness cannot be obtained."
(A note here - I read this and realize that this applies to suffering as well as happiness. When we consider our suffering different than another's suffering, we again, leave the place of non-self. My suffering is yours. Yours is mine. Back to Thich Nhat Hanh.)
"So as you progress on the path of insight into non-self, the happiness brought to you by love will increase. When people love each other, the distinction, the limits, the frontier between them begins to dissolve, and they become one with the person they love. There's no longer any jealousy or anger, because if they are angry at the other person, they are angry at themselves. That is why non-self is not a theory, a doctrine, or an ideology, but a realization that can bring a lot of happiness."
McLeod says, here, "And peace."
Thich Nhat Hanh replies, "Sure. Peace is the absence of separation, of discrimination."
And that takes us back to the Civil War, fought all those years ago to eliminate separation and discrimination. May we all continue to work, internally and externally, for that to be so. A joyous day to you all!!