Staying Awake

My last post was about staying put: sitting on the meditation cushion, staying with whatever arises. This is an important practice, worthy of a lifetime. Equally important is taking mindfulness into daily life. 

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a commencement address at Oberlin College. It's called "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution." Fifty years have passed, yet his words still resonate: "Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. We must realize that the time is always right to do right."

I meditate so I can better understand myself: the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and sensations. I meditate so I can cultivate awareness and compassion. And I meditate so I can move through this complex world in more skillful, kind ways. It's not only about staying put on the cushion. It's about staying awake during a great revolution. It's about "doing right."

We are interconnected, all of us. Fear and blame constrict us—they clip our wings and close our hearts. Each day, I ask myself: How can I stay present, discerning, and compassionate in this complicated world? What’s the next skillful action to take?