Confronting the dark of the world around usPublished 5:30pm Saturday, November 10, 2012
“A monk asked his teacher, ‘What is my self?’ The teacher answered, ‘There is something deeply hidden within your self, and you must become acquainted with its hidden activity.’ The monk then asked to be told what this hidden activity was. The teacher just opened and closed his eyes.” —Frederick Franck — The Zen of Seeing
I was introduced to Zen in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” some time ago but even today I’m still uncertain of the meaning of Zen.
I am also trying to read an article from the November issue of The Sun titled “If Only We Would Listen.”
Parker J. Palmer had a PhD in sociology from the University of California but was burned out and miserable.
He took a sabbatical from his work in Washington and moved with his wife and children to Pendle Hill, a Quaker community in Pennsylvania that “combined elements of ashram, a monastery, a kibbutz, and a commune.”
His topic is “On What We Could Learn About Politics, Faith, And Each Other.” His new book is called “Healing the Heart of Democracy.” He started the book because he was in despair about what was happening in our country, about our inability to talk to each other, about democracy going down the drain as big money becomes more powerful and that coincided with a bout of clinical depression.
He’s made three major passes through that darkness which he is glad to talk about, because depression is still a taboo subject in our society. He says there’s heartbreak across the political spectrum, from one extreme to the other, not just in this country.
If Americans don’t understand that radical Islamic terrorists are heartbroken about what’s happening to their people, we’re missing the point.
We’ve exploited their resources for our benefit. We’ve fought wars to protect our access to oil, not to “spread democracy.”