When it is very painful to observe what appears to be going on in the world, how can we become aware of abandoning the situation by going unconscious and ignoring suffering? Why keep watching the news if it seems to solidify the pattern of feeling helpless? What should we do when we resonate with call to action in our own backyard, like the Million Woman March?
When we are fixated on one part as opposed to another part, it looks like things are separate. An extreme of this is warfare. We forget to take into consideration the bigger picture, or “Big Mind”. Sit down, hold still, and see the relative truth of separate parts. Practice just observing the parts without doing anything with them. This is called patience. In this way, you are using your life to awaken to the Whole.
The awareness of confusion is still awareness, very powerful if you don’t manipulate it based on grasping a position of right and wrong or what you should and shouldn’t do. Be generous, allow yourself to be confused. When you train your mind to not believe, disbelieve, or look away from whatever arises, there is a sense of openness that is fearless, not separate from confusion. This may inspire what you have to do.
Inspired by the current political climate and the expressions of people feeling the need to take action, Sokuzan talks about the Third Pure Precept of the Soto Zen tradition, the bodhisattva vow to: “Be with all things”. If you want to do something, first sit down and find out who you are. Train your mind to be with all things, starting with your own thought patterns. Prioritize awareness rather than strategy. If irritation, anger and fear are motivating your activity in the world, it will only lead to more suffering. To actually be with all things is to fully manifest your humanity in a way that naturally harmonizes with the basic situation.