Winter 2015 Editorial
A few weeks ago Boise Valley experienced a five days and nights of below zero weather. We had snow on the ground and it was bitter cold. In an early morning dream I was forewarned through a sequence of memories of various times in my life where I’d experienced that edge of survival when unexpected bitter cold weather blanketed my life. I was preoccupied with the plight of our city’s homeless. When I awoke early Friday morning so cold my knees were quaking, a phenomenal terror shook me.
My heater for my home was frozen as was the battery in my car. Lucky for me, I had plenty of alternative heaters on hand that I could turn on. My thoughts were updating me on the travails of those without shelter, warmth or nourishment. This mind practice of when one recognized they are suffering, hurt, harmed; that one immediately sends out a prayer, a blessing to all others on the Good Earth who are simultaneously enduring such prevails, is a Buddhist practice called ”Tonglin”. For seven months now post my terrible car crash and great bodily harm, I have leaned into this practice daily, hourly. I learned quickly if I focused on the pain and imbalance in my broken body, it became insurmountable. Instead, I’d honor the parts of me mending by acknowledging their intensity and stress then I’d create a prayer in my heart-mind for all others who were in similar states of discomfort.
For who knows what reason I had to go to ’death’s edge’ and be called back to Earth life; I had to ponder the possibilities of loss of self-sufficiency, loss of vocation, self reliance and mobility so that I could empathize with the many, many others on this Earth suffering the same or worse.
Repeatedly I’ve witnessed in my life that I’ve been required to go through severe tests and challenges; heal and learn from them, in order to be compassionate when many others will face those same themes soon after. Waking up quaking with the cold with no heat and no mobility taught me more about the homeless and the need to be good community supporters than any written article or television blip.
We are ONE, One family of mankind, One member of Earth’s family.
(P.S. See Compassion and Tonglin by Andrew Weiss in East Meets West section)