We all suffer. We all want to end our suffering.
That's it. Draw the dividing lines any way you want to - gun advocates and peaceniks, pro-gay marriage or anti, Confederate flag wavers and those who see it as a symbol of oppression - those two sentences define what we share. We all suffer. We all want to end our suffering.
Where this unifying thread begins to fray is how we perceive we might bring an end to our personal suffering. Often, it seems, it involves how we perceive the threat of others depriving us of something, passing undue judgment upon us, or somehow inhibiting our freedoms.
And of course, it's this kind of thinking that brings about….you guessed it. More suffering.
This past month, I've struggled mightily not to respond to posts on social media that strike at the very core of what I believe is right and just. Those of you who know me know where I stand on these kinds of issues, and for those that don't, well, a blog that is largely devoted to my interpretations of Buddhist dharma likely leave little question. Suffice to say, Ann Coulter skipped right over my eHarmony profile.
So, as I reboot this blog, under a new title, my hope is to connect with an audience that appreciates my best attempts at a compassionate, thoughtful, and at times humorous view of various teachers as The Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Geri Larkin, Chogyam Trungpa, and Sakyong Mipham. My hope is that I won't get so bogged down in Buddhism that I lose those who might just want some insights on life in the 21st century and how to navigate the often tumultuous tides. My hope is that, whether your Hybrid has a "Jon Stewart for President" sticker covering up your dancing Grateful Dead bears or your '93 Dodge Ram has an airbrushed "Don't Tread On Me" plate, you'll find something here that gives you pause, and perhaps gives you a bit of peace in a time of great restlessness.
I'm a writer. That's what I do. More than what I do, that's who I am. As I wait for my next round of short story ideas to come bubbling forth, I feel the compulsion to make some connections here, to do whatever my meager talents allow to strike a little sulfur against the phosphorous in hopes of igniting a spark or two. Mostly I'm writing for myself, creating a journal so I can better understand the Dharma and my perspectives on it. But gratefully, I can invite others along for the ride, and I hope you'll join me.
I can't promise scholarly perspectives or ones that come without the occasional gaping hole, but I can promise a sincere attempt to offer up some layman's wisdom, a thimble of hope, and the occasional smile.
Chances are, we actually have a lot of things in common. We all suffer. We all want to end our suffering. There's two right there.