With the tragic news this week of devastating floods in east Texas, lots of folks are asking what they can do to be of help. The sight of thousands of people displaced and trying to escape the floodwaters is distressing and painful, and our natural compassion leaps up and wants to help.
Excellent efforts by the Red Cross and other governmental and non-governmental agencies are drawing material support from all over the country.
Even a small amount of money can help people suffering from homelessness and the trauma of being separated from everything they know. Refugees don’t just come from foreign countries; they come from anywhere outside our normal, comfortable sphere. Their pain is our pain, and by helping them, we help ourselves.
We’ve all experienced loss; we all know what it’s like to lose the people and things we love. In that moment of empathy, we can forget all conflict, anger and disputation, and connect genuinely in ways that really matter.
So, in tragedy, look to the heroes – all the people who run toward danger to save the lives of others; all the people who see themselves in others and let go of prejudice and fear to fully embrace that human connection.
We’re seeing it in Texas – Muslim youths banding together to rescue the stranded, people of all colors and faiths reaching across lines to scoop up those in danger and bring them to safety.
Say prayers for the safety of all those – the stranded and the rescuers – and also rejoice in the purity of their action. Make the aspiration that you, too, will be able to reach out the day a person comes to you for help.
So many people come to us each day, and there’s no way we have the energy and resources to help them all. But when we can stretch, even just a little bit, beyond our narrow view, a flood of goodness may pour into our hearts.
Stay strong, Texas; help is on the way.
Note: Good prayers to say in the face of any difficulty are the Mantra of the Compassionate Bodhisattva Chenrezig (OM MANI PEME HUNG) and the Tashi Prayer, which can be found here:
And here’s a short list of ways to assist those affected by the flooding in Texas: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/houston-flooding-hurricane-harvey-recovery-how-to-help-donate/
As summer draws to a close, we prepare for our annual Fall Retreat at Glen Helen Nature Preserve. It’s a yearly chance to “get away from it all” and spend time together in the company of dharma folk. We take walks in the woods and follow a monastic schedule – similar to the schedule of our “home” center, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery in Woodstock, NY – so we can slow down and give our minds a chance to relax and absorb the meaning of our dharma practice.
Here’s a little description of the program; check your calendar and reserve your space in advance!
We may wish to become more compassionate people, but today’s world, with all of its strife, makes compassion feel like a very distant goal. But a short daily practice developed in 12th Century Tibet can bring compassion to your everyday life and change your experience of the world. During the teaching sessions of this weekend retreat in the woods near Yellow Springs, Lama Kathy will teach the short daily compassion training practice and how this practice can be used when anger, fear, impatience and other mental afflictions arise. Participants will take home a training program (including the traditional Lojong Mind-Training Slogans) that they can use in their everyday lives to increase their loving and compassionate response.