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Good morning!  Welcome to the DKos Sangha weekly open thread.

This is an open thread for members of the DKos Sangha and others who are interested in discussions concerning how we integrate our progressive political activism into our spiritual practice.  If you have observations about the political discourse of the week, or about practice, or about anything else related to walking a spiritual path through the political world, if you wish to share, or if you seek support, or if you simply want to say hello, please do; this space is for you.

If you would like to write a diary for the DKos Sangha, please let me know.

If you care nothing for spiritual practice and only wish to denigrate and disparage, please do so elsewhere, and respect that this is a community diary for the DKos Sangha.

Here at Daily Kos we often tend to think in terms of community.  One of the communities that I've been working with is an "intentional" community, a group of people that is seeking to find land on which to live together.  Recently, we decided to work on crafting a vision statement.  While there is much that we agree on when we envision community, we have found that the exercise of coming together to write a statement that reflects our common vision of what we wish to accomplish is something that can be helpful as we move forward.

So it was decided that we would each write our own personal vision statement; we would then try to come up with one statement distilled from these individual visions.  At this point in the process, we've each written our personal statement.

I don't know what my vision of the future is, or that I even have a "vision" of the future.  I decided that what I could do is to look at the flow of events and write about where I am now within the context of that flow.  So I started writing, trying to be truthful with myself, asking "is this true", sitting with the words and feeling into the body to find resonance or dissonance.

I wrote about four pages, most of which set the context for the closing paragraph, the "vision statement".  I found that statement interesting, though I don't know how much value it will have in our group's effort to craft a common vision statement.  But it does seem to represent to some degree where I am at the moment, not just in terms of this one group, but more broadly.  Here is the closing paragraph ...

My personal vision statement then reflects the open hearted acceptance of where I am now, and it seeks to become ever more in harmony with the unfolding of events, the flow of the universe, the way of the tao.  This vision statement reflects the responsibility of knowing the truth of who I am, and of continuing to meet and touch with compassion the conditioning that arises, letting that conditioning dissipate in the fire of an open and compassionate heart.  Mindful of conditioning's tendency to grasp onto the ideas and concepts that can be used in the service of making our world a better place, this mission statement reflects the importance of not holding too tightly to what I think I might know.  Given my perception of where I am now and where the flow of events seems to be moving, this vision statement reflects a focus on spiritual practice and the sharing of this practice with others.  This vision statement reflects the importance of solitude and community, and of finding balance and harmony.  This vision statement reflects the importance of finding inner peace and peace among the family of humanity.

Perhaps more succinctly, this vision statement might be ...

… to simply be present with what is

It doesn't read like a vision of finding land, living off-grid, using permaculture methods to grow food and live sustainably.  But the "truth" is that I don't know the future; the "truth" is that attachment to ideas, even wonderful, meaningful, ideas, does not resonate with the core of my being.

I bring this up here because it may be useful to see that closing statement within the context of our work here at Daily Kos, our work as progressives for social, economic, and environmental justice.

Whatever endeavors we may be working on, our starting point is always now.  We work on various projects with different communities of people.  We have goals and responsibilities and commitments.  We seek outcomes, general and specific.  But it is, I think, important to be wary of egoic conditioning's tendency to grasp onto outcomes.  You can feel it when that happens, it is visceral.

This does not mean that we shouldn't make plans or work towards goals or work together to accomplish things of importance to our communities.  But it suggests that we need not hold too tightly to what we think we know; for when we hold too tightly, it is harder to find the most harmonious way forward, the way in which we might most effectively move within the unfolding of events.

Dharma teaches that where there is attachment and aversion, there is suffering.  When we are able to just be present with what is, then we are able to move more in harmony wth the tao.


You are welcome to join us each week in our Monday night group meditation here at DKos Sangha.  This online group meditation is hosted by Ooooh, and the diary is posted at 7:00 Eastern.  So that we are able to be together for as many here at Daily Kos as wish to participate, the meditation period runs from 7:30 - 10:00.  This group sitting is open to beginners and advanced, and is not restricted to any particular traditions or practices.  It is not expected that you sit for the entire period; sit for as long as you like, when you like.  The idea is that we are here together; supporting each other, holding space for each other.


Enjoy your day!

Originally posted to DKos Sangha on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good morning! (5+ / 0-)

    I like the way you talk about not holding to tightly to what you think you might know.

    In my own experience of holding attachment to ideas I was blessed with the experience of being wrong many, many times. Finally I spent 18 months suffering with extreme cognitive dissonance arising from a need to "know" about something virtually unknowable. Peace finally came when I understood I would never be able to know that one thing, and as well, anything I might believe about it changed nothing.

    That roller coaster ride taught me the value of holding lightly to what I think I know, and even what I think I need to know. :-D

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

    by Ooooh on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:52:08 AM PST

  •  You have summed up my vision very well in just (7+ / 0-)

    two words:

    balance and harmony
    It would be nice to achieve balance and harmony in everyday life.

    I have worked hard to find balance and have stripped much from my life and tried to reduce it to essentials. Harmony takes even more work. My ego is large and takes a lot of persuading that it is not always correct!

    It never occurred to me to write a vision statement; always thought it was possible to hold in my head who I am and, more importantly, where I wanted to go. But the idea is a good one as it requires precision. And something in writing that I can come back to and read again will perhaps make me more honest with myself.

    Thank you.

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:58:34 AM PST

  •  Good morning, dave. (5+ / 0-)

    I have also thought about something like this with my family of choice, aka my kind as I put it:

    an "intentional" community, a group of people that is seeking to find land on which to live together.
    We're all urban folk, so a big house or a small apt building on a major bus line, within walking distance of a good grocery store, etc.
    May all beings be peaceful.  
    May all beings be happy.  
    May all beings be well.  
    May all beings be safe.  
    May all beings be free from suffering.
    •  Good morning Joy! (5+ / 0-)

      I too have given thought to urban intentional community as well.  It would especially work well here in hippie/spiritual/progressive Asheville.  In fact, there is here a small intentional community that was featured on one of those good-morning-america type shows as an example of a real-life "golden girls" household.  There is also an intentional community here that comprises several apartment buildings on one piece of land, sharing a common heating system housed in a community building, on the bus route and walking distance to groceries and other "downtown" destinations.  There are a lot of intentional urban and rural communities in and around Asheville, and a lot more folks that are searching for community.  It's a lot of work, and requires letting go of a lot of self-interested thinking.  But whether or not such projects succeed, the experience itself is a great teacher.

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:39:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have been thinking about that more and more (4+ / 0-)

      As I get older, I'm hoping to find a place with "people like me" where I could use my talents to contribute and to live semi-communally to support each other.

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:28:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  diary worth reading: "Buddhist student harassed" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ooooh, davehouck, joegoldstein

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:58:10 PM PST

    •  Thanks; I had not yet seen that story (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, joegoldstein, Ooooh

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:56:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I am encroaching on what seems to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        close knit group I am going to be very careful not to disrupt your intent.  I just need to ask some guidance on the article or "diary" that annieli referenced.  

        It is very late Wednesday and I do not want to get into any sort of extended discussion on this story tonight.  My interest is valid because I live in this community, my wife has taught school in this district and I have to say that there are facets to this "story" and the "diary" that are giving me some problems.  

        I will return to see response to my request for some guidance.  

        Good night.  

        I fervently hope, as humans, we never escape from this earth to spread our bigotry elsewhere.

        by olegar on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 08:35:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hi Olegar; welcome to the group (0+ / 0-)

          It's not clear to me what kind of "guidance" you are looking for regarding the harassment story, as you did not mention what kind of problems it is causing for you.  However, if I can help, I'll try.

          The purpose of our group here is to provide a space for those who are engaged in both spiritual practice and political activism, as those two paths can often seem, though not necessarily be, at odds with each other.  In my view, as we move deeper into the experience of our true nature as awareness and as compassion we find that we see ourselves in each other; thus it is felt that all beings should be treated with respect, understanding, and compassion, for they are not separate from ourselves, their suffering is our suffering.

          This can seem at odds with a political world, and indeed in a culture, where people are divided against each other, where self-interest is put above the needs of others, where fear of others who appear or act different, or who have views that are different, causes mistrust, anger, hate and violence.

          An example of this has been mentioned by at least a couple of the members of this sangha.  During the Bush administration, Dick Chaney's words and actions caused much harm, and many people were understandably angry.  However, as part of spiritual practice, some realized that, though his actions were harmful, we should still have compassion for Chaney.  He, like all other beings on this planet, is our brother; he is us, a human being born into an imperfect culture that informs us in harmful ways that causes suffering for ourselves and others.  All beings are deserving of respect, understanding and compassion.

          I'm guessing that annieli may have posted her note letting us know of the harassment story because the story is about a Buddhist, and some of the members of this sangha are Buddhists; and because many, though certainly not all, of the teachings and practices discussed here are from Buddhist sources.

          But she may also have posted the note because the story also touches on how we treat each other in our communities.

          I do not know anything more about this story than what I read in the diary.  In my view, this isn't necessarily about Buddhism; you could replace the word Buddhist with the word Muslim and the story would be the same.

          It is understandable that members of a particular religion might want to educate their children in an environment supportive of the values and teachings of their religion.  Thus it does not seem unreasonable that, for instance, a Christian denomination might run its own school.

          However, in a state or nation where the people are members of many religions, spiritual traditions, and non-religious world-views, it seems reasonable to suggest that schools that are supported by and run for the benefit of the population as a whole refrain from promoting any one religion or denigrating another.

          This can be difficult, as religion is for many a defining part of their lives.  However, there are many in our country for whom religion is a prominent part of their lives, yet who also recognize that others understandably hold to different views; and that we can live together peacefully with understanding and respect, and can educate our children together in a secular setting.

          Again, I know nothing of this particular story other than what was reported in the diary.  We can have compassion for all who are a part of this story; they are all experiencing what in Sanskrit is called duhkha, often translated in English as suffering.  We can understand how each of the parties may have come to be in that situation; we are each greatly informed by the family and culture within which we are raised.  We each carry into each moment, or are carried into each moment by, a flow of events that stretches back through the generations; karma.  And to the extent that we are bound to egoic conditioning, attachment and aversion, we will have conflict, dissatisfaction, aggravation, anger, annoyance, hate.  All beings are deserving of our compassion and understanding.  All beings should be treated with respect.

          It is through education, the sharing of ideas, that we as a people can gradually come together and build communities within which compassion, understanding and respect are cultivated and practiced.  It is through education that we learn about other cultures, peoples, histories, traditions, and that we can learn to appreciate our differences.  It is through education that we can learn that we are one human family sharing this earth, our home, together.

          So I suppose that is what the harassment story is about for me.  It is another example of where our culture is still struggling to evolve, to move forward, to become more equitable and just, to become more compassionate.  It is the same story as immigration, misogyny, voting rights, LGBT rights, income inequality, food stamps, access to healthcare, etc, etc.

          We as progressives work for social, economic, and environmental justice.  We who walk a spiritual path find that all beings are deserving of respect, understanding, and compassion.  These two, our work as progressives and our spiritual paths, can be, should be, compatible.

          For each of us, and for us as a people, our starting point is always right here where we are now.  The conflict at the school in the story will unfold within the context of the culture within which it formed.  We can contribute to the process by sharing the story, writing about it, writing letters to the editor.  We can contribute going forward by vetting candidates for school boards, supporting good candidates, and getting people to vote.  We can contribute going forward by working for just and equitable laws regarding our public schools.

          We cannot change people or culture overnight.  It is a slow process.  But the change we wish to see in others begins with ourselves.

          May all beings be free from suffering
          May all beings be at peace

          Thank you for writing.  I hope my response is helpful.  And I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

          Love one another

          by davehouck on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:38:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well said, Dave. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davehouck, Ooooh

    Thank you.

    A society consisting of the sum of its vanity and greed is not a society at all but a state of war. - Lewis Lapham

    by joegoldstein on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:46:31 AM PST

    •  Thank you Joe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... and good morning!

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 07:17:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good morning to you as well :)... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ooooh, davehouck

        ...24 hours later! I am usually out with my running group quite early on Sunday's (and sometimes not home to quite late as well), so most times I don't get to read your diary until Monday mornings.

        A society consisting of the sum of its vanity and greed is not a society at all but a state of war. - Lewis Lapham

        by joegoldstein on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:56:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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