Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21, 2009--USA Inauguration

My Dear Friends, and my Dear Family,

I went downtown today for lunch and there in the restaurant was a T.V. with news in English and the news was all about the United States and the inauguration of Barack Obama. Everywhere I go, Indians will ask me about this election. It's humbling. And being raised Catholic, I remember the verse, "to more that is given, more is expected." I think about this in terms of the destiny of the US. Many, many people would give anything to get a passport or visa to come to America.

I was walking up to the village of Chalgon behind the nunnery a few weeks ago and a young man, maybe 18 years old was walking with his mother or grandmother and just came up to me and said, "I have no money and no papers, but I want to come to the United States. Can you help me?"

But what is it we have? For me, the first word is FREEDOM, which translate into choices. We are a very rich nation (despite the economic downturn) with incredible resources and we have the capacity to make great strides in terms of influencing the world in ways that reflect the beautiful vision of a democracy that was codified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. And it's simply a matter of what we do with these choices. Simple! hahaha

I was teaching English today to a woman who was born in Tibet (close to Lhasa) around 1972. This very shy woman, begin to tell me of her very political involvement in Tibet against the Chinese and the imprisonment of many of her friends. She told me of the re-education programs in the prisons which begins after a few months or years of beatings. Her uncles spent years imprisoned for being Tibetan and for owning land. She appears to be so passive and quiet and out of her came such a conviction and commitment to do all that she can and hopefully to return to Tibet to help restore the losses for her country and culture. And then, she turns to me and simply said; "America is so great and what happens in America effects the world."

It's very interesting to see the U.S. from here. And to see my life and my home from a foreign perspective.

I myself have a lot of freedom. And this freedom requires a lot of responsibility. I've have had to face a lot of my own choices in my life and this is humbling. I am living in an insulated environment, not able to really talk to anyone at length or in depth due to the language barrier, so I have only my own mind to dialog with! It is my sadhana, my spiritual practice, and why I came to India in the first place. I can see immediately the results or fruit of each thought and action. I can hold it, so to speak and I have to ask in all honesty, what was motivating this? Was I trying just to get what I want? Or am I really thinking of someone else? What do I want from you? What am I asking of you? These are tough questions that require brutal honesty if one wants liberation. For if I am not motivated by Love, the fruit of this is not loving and is simply suffering; for me, for you.

Whatever world I want to see, I am seeing through my thoughts and these are reflected in each and every interaction I have with each and every person I meet. Am I influencing someone with hope or am I hiding fear through a false smile and platitudes? Do I really believe that Peace is possible in this chaos? If so, what am I doing to further this and what actions do I justify that oppose this?

I come from a nation of "can-do" people and feel deep gratitude for these gifts that have given me this foundation. As my Tibetan friend says, "what happens in America effects the world," really translates for me to, "whatever I do effects all beings, without exception, whether I am aware or not." What effect will I have?

That's the question for me.

I shouldn't be as hopeful as I am, given that there was much suffering in my life, but that is the Miracle OF my life. Throughout it all, the deaths, the sadness, the moves, the failed relationships, there has been an undercurrent of deep Faith and great Love. In India, I am finding that this is the ground from which everything is growing and always has been! Throughout it all there have been the Friends and the Family that I have and underlying even our different paths and lives, we are still here, with each other.

These are such important times to practice Peace. These are great times to practice Forgiveness. These are such great times to have Faith and believe, as President Obama has said - in Hope. No matter what we might believe, to have the word HOPE brought back into the vernacular of politics and nations is a great gift. I hope! Blessings, Nellie

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2, 2009- Email Still Down

Dear Friends,
The internet is down at the shop I go to and I took a break from email to meditate a lot etc. Today begins a workshop for nuns and Tenzin Palmo is the main speaker - she's the nun in the book the Cave in the Snow - I had breakfast with her and her nuns (she's British but has been in India for decades) and she is so powerful. Her talk today was on the male domination in Buddhist tradition to encourage the nuns to build inner strength - it was WOW and I speak tomorrow!