on the dharma shelf | october 2017

Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed — Paulo Freire “No, my hope is necessary. But it is not enough. Alone it does not win but without it my struggle will be weak and wobbly. We need critical hope like a fish needs unpolluted water.” The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture — Kevin…

bearing witness | on the delusion of colorblindness

Open ya eyes wide and see the truth of the skin I’m in. #TakeItAllIn As a Dharma practitioner, I have cultivated Sangha on the sacred grounds of the Satipatthana Sutta (the Four Establishments of Mindfulness) and, in our gatherings, turn us again and again and again back to this foundational practice that teaches us to…

on spiritual accounting, resistance + boundaries

​I usually tune out during commercials, but when I heard Iyanla drop this gem in a teaser for her new season of Fix My Life, I woke the hell up! I know what resistance looks, sounds, and feels like (thank the goddess I’ve learned to own mine). And, as an empath, I’ve been admittedly agitated…

radical bodhicitta | justice is my love language

When I took the test for the 5 love languages years ago, it came as no surprise that my primary love language is acts of service (followed by quality time). Last Wednesday, I was invited to give a dharma talk on social justice at my root sangha and opened with Dr. Cornel West’s oft-quoted observation…

on cultivating doubt

“When there is great doubt” says a Zen aphorism that Kusan Sunim kept repeating,”then there is great awakening. This is the key. The depth of any understanding is intimately correlated with the depth of one’s confusion. Great awakening resonates at the same “pitch” as great doubt.  So rather than negate such doubt by replacing it…

when + where we enter | abiding in the practice

We closed yesterday’s daylong practice of discernment and self-inquiry by reflecting on how we aspire to show up and carry what we have learned about cultivating radical bodhicitta — what I call the heart and mind of justice, liberation, and healing — into our ever-widening circles of compassionate social action. After everyone departed, I returned to…

on refuge + resistance | surviving to sustain skillful action

Revolution is not a one-time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity to make a genuine change in established, outgrown responses; for instance, it is learning to address each other’s difference with respect. We share a common interest, survival, and it cannot be pursued in isolation from others simply because their differences…

on refuge + resistance | becoming a sanctuary

On Monday, I was overcome by emotion at the devastating stories of Muslim immigrants being cut off from their rightful homes — families, livelihoods, and beloved communities — here in the U.S. and of refugees, who had been promised entry on asylum, being sent back to waiting gallows. I became teary-eyed and shaky as I thought…