28 May 2010 - Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: Request for Practice
We have received this message from Paul Kelway, a member of Shambhala who is a regional manager of the International Bird Rescue Research Center, which has teams in the Gulf of Mexico. Paul was a former Program Director at Shambhala Mountain Center.
He says the most valuable gift right now truly is our practice, for all those directly affected and for the world at large.
Kindly include this vast aspiration in your practice.
Dear friends in Shambhala,
I have been working as part of the response to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico for a month now.
I cannot pretend to comprehend this unprecedented environmental disaster. I cannot comprehend the amount of oil in the water, nor the multitude of opinions about who is to blame or what has or has not happened in the attempt to stop the flow of oil and protect the coastline. And I most certainly cannot comprehend the suffering that has been caused, first to the families and friends of the oil rig workers who lost their lives, then to the multitude of sentient beings caught in this gooey mess, and indeed to the communities who live and work in and around the Gulf of Mexico.
From all the emails and phone calls we have received, not just from across the United States but from around the world, I know that people beyond the Gulf are experiencing this violation to the marine environment as if it was an assault on their own body. It is an energy that seems almost impossible for people to hold and, more often than not, I see it manifest either as blame and anger or as utter hopelessness at the degradation that has occurred to our planet at the hands of human beings.
As a Shambhalian I have been trying to reconcile all of this with my relationship and allegiance to basic goodness. More than ever before I realize that this journey is not for the faint hearted. I also realize that it is what the world needs more than anything else. It needs people who can hold this incredible amount of pain but who know that the energy of this suffering and sadness must be held with fearlessness and gentleness so that it does not become the fuel for further wars on whomever we decide is 'the other' to be blamed for this event.
In this particular situation, as I think about my fellow Shambhala warriors, I would suggest that of all the help we as a community could provide, the most valuable gift right now truly is our practice, for all those directly affected and for the world at large.
I am reminded of the words of the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, in his Earth Day message in 2009, when he said: "In the Shambhala tradition it is said that it is precisely in dark times like these that the inherent wisdom of the universe makes itself felt. Now is the time to draw on the inspiration of humanity's wisdom traditions. All remind us of the sacred oneness of life, the interdependence of all beings, and the inexorable laws of cause and effect. These teachings could not be more relevant to our collective imperative: the creation of enlightened and sustainable societies."
Our aspiration to walk this path of basic goodness and to work tirelessly for enlightened society, no matter how great the obstacles may appear, is what the world needs. Only by holding true to these principles, beyond hope and hopelessness, can we have any chance of navigating these turbulent times.
So as I continue to work on this oil spill, I take heart in the positive difference my team is making, on some small level. I am also realizing, more powerfully than ever, that our response to this oil spill, as a community, should be less about outrage and more about outrageousness.
Yours in the indestructible vision of the Great Eastern Sun,