Meditations on the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

We grieve.

Of course we grieve. Only the very unconscious would not grieve the shooting at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

We grieve the loss of life, and the impact of that loss on families, friends, communities, and all who have a sense of kinship with this community.

We grieve what we fear this murderous act might say about the state of the nation, the state of the world, and where we might be headed. We grieve that what it might say is that the tribal world view, a view of us-versus-them, that spawns not only anti-Semitism but every other -ism of its kind -- racism, sexism, and the rest -- is still widespread in our species.

We grieve our sense of helplessness, our apparent inability to stop the madness.

Yet, we are not helpless.

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Beyond the Cartoons

I’m struck this morning by the tendency of human beings to use our taxonomies to turn each other into simplistic, distorted cartoon characters. We take our categories -- which humans understandably use to help make sense of a complicated world -- way too far. Man, woman, old, young, boomer, millennial, black, white, brown, yellow, American, Asian, Latino. These labels become a substitute for an actual encounter with an infinitely complex, nuanced human being. 

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There’s no such thing as “I really don’t have a practice”

Often, when conversation turns to practice, I hear the following: “I really don’t have a practice.”

I no longer believe this to be true. I believe that, in fact, for each of us and all of us, our lived life is our practice. However I spend my time today is my practice today. Of course, if I get up, do yoga, sit in meditation, chant, pray, read a spiritual text, and the like, nobody would argue that I have a practice.

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