In all things, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Can you comprehend the depth of kindness you regularly receive and rely upon?
The world of our making
manufactures reasons for not taking care
by extolling and encouraging irresponsible segregations.
Spurious attempts at separation,
founded on fear,
disseminate dis-likeness that facilitates un-kindly-ness.
Deftly dissecting “me” from “you,”
dividing “us” from “them,”
and divorcing “them” from “Thee,”
provides plentiful permission
and ready dispensations from co-responsibility
in the global chain of lifegiving.
So subtle this mongering of menace
and marketing of deceit,
making “others” out of “us,”
that we expect to receive kindness
as personal entitlement;
mine to keep, not necessarily to share.
I read that Hindu sage Ramana Maharishi, whenJoe Grant, Scratchings
asked how we should treat others, blithely replied,
“There are no others.”
Oblivious to the disgrace of withholding care,
thankless taking denies us the joyful kinship of neighborhood;
antidote to alienation.
Sharing the elemental material of universe,
we claim essential connection
to neighborhood that is cosmic, galactic, solar and global,
as well as parochial and particular.
As neighborhood expands beyond locality intoJoe Grant, Scratchings
belonging, as far as eye and heart and creative spirit
can carry, we find abundant opportunity to bear the
blessed burden of neighborly safe keeping, kin to each
and every kind of neighbor.
So, as we gaze at a blessed-broken world,
weighing contribution with gain, investment over return,
or wondering about responsibility,
who is not tempted to seek absolution by redirecting culpability
and laying claim to righteousness without justice,
or restoration devoid of the requirement of loving kindness?
How easily moral campaigns,
religious fervor and political protests
degenerate into self-righteous rejections, denunciations, and denials?
Have you not already been told what is goodMicah 6:8
and what is required, this and only this:
act with justice, love with kindness,
and walk in humility with the Holy.
Any wakeful soul can perceive,
perpetually proclaimed in the harsh beauty of being,
that earth is kindness without bounds,
in which no drop, or seed, or life is really wasted,
but lovingly received, reclaimed, and reformed.
And we need not traverse transcendental realms
nor explore the cosmic expanse
to contemplate the mysterious force of unbridled kindness.
A community practicing understanding and loving kindnessThich Nhat Hanh
may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.
Neither moral rectitude nor cleverness
can release the humble healing power of compassion,
simply received and broadcast in joyfully being kind.
How might your life be transformed
by the graceful exchange of the kindly overflow
that saturates each moment of being?
How might this world be restored
by imitating free-gifted-ness, mirrored in nature,
that clears the way for compassionate care?
Extravagant loveJoe Grant, Scratchings
yields creative abundance,
nothing left to waste.
May you live holy human-kindness,
and claim your place in ever-giving neighborhood,
a conduit and catalyst for kindness unbridled.
Scratchings invites one to explore a world of meaning delving deep beyond the surface to something truly human, truly spirit, truly personal. Challenged to ask the hard, difficult questions, the ones that come when you are deep in silence, or tending a garden, I found that Scratchings takes you on a path not necessarily where you will find the answers but to a profound engagement in the on-going and evolving search for truth. Your own. Touching a yesterday that opens gently into a tomorrow. A safe place to remember. A wonderful place to Dream.
- Sr. Sue Scharfenberger, osu, Lima, Peru.