“Together we are ONE” was the theme of our gatherings Friday and Saturday, January 20/21 for a mindful presence at the Women’s March. Washington Mindfulness Community, MPCF, Stillwater, ARISE, Wake UP, sanghas from Baltimore and many others, local and national, organized and led us in silent walking to the mall. There we formed a circle of about 140 meditators, then did mindful walking, sitting, singing and eating together amidst half a million other sisters and brothers. We rejoiced when we learned that we were part of over 670 marches around the world, in every US state, on every continent, standing up for justice, peace and love.
Our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh was present in the form of a large photo, reminding us to keep coming back to the home of our breath, here and now, in the present moment.
In Together We are One (Parallax Press, 2010, p. 79), he says “Sometimes we believe, ‘Until this person or that institution changes, I can’t be happy.’ We may make a particular person or group of people into our enemy, we think they are the obstacle to our happiness. But our suffering comes from our own ignorance and lack of understanding, not from other people. When we understand this, we can open our arms to embrace all peoples, all species, and we have no enemies. To have no enemies is such a wonderful thing. When we have no enemies, no reproach, and no blaming, our mind is light as a cloud, and our happiness is vast, immense. We do not look at those who hurt us as our enemies, but as people who need understanding and compassion. When we are able to look in this way, we can call ourselves the children of the Buddha, disciples of the Buddha, and no one is our enemy….If we use the eyes of compassion to look at the world, we can see that even those who oppress and exploit others, those who instill terror, or those who cause harm, can be our beloved ones. None are our enemies.”
Those of you who remember me as the “mini-skirted nun” of 1969 protests and actions will smile. Have you truly embraced this teaching, you might ask? I am transforming, trying, stumbling sometimes, gaining tremendous strength, joy and hope from the millions who walk with me, one day at a time, one step at a time, never alone now, always “Together as ONE.”
Photos by Bao Tich Nguyen