Our Valley Insight community joins with George Floyd’s family and friends and with people all over this planet who are grieving his death, and who are feeling great confusion, outrage, and pain over this cruel and senseless murder. We witnessed the heartless killing of an innocent African American man; we saw the cruelly-inflicted death of an individual. At the same time, we saw and felt the pain of untold hundreds of thousands — millions — of men, women and children. We see in this moment all those who have experienced almost unimaginable suffering through enslavement, forced labor, brutal working conditions, forced marches, incarceration, lynching, shooting, suffocation, and so much more all at the hands of the white power structure in this country. We saw clearly what we cannot bear.
The best definition I have ever heard for the Buddhist word ‘Dukkha’ is just this – that which we cannot bear.
We received a powerful message from Oren Jay Sofer this weekend. Oren taught a daylong retreat for us this past April. We think his words offer some way to begin the process of ‘bearing’ this unbearable moment and living it somehow into our lives. He writes,
“The contemplative path teaches us to open our hearts to the truth, because that is where freedom lies. What’s the alternative? Shutting down? If we are unwilling to turn towards what’s difficult, we dig ourselves deeper into darkness, fear, confusion and disconnection.
“Of course, the truth is not always pleasant.
“There is a turning point on this path when we understand that the pain and heartbreak in life is not an obstacle, but rather fuel for awakening. When we understand this deep in our bones, the resistance softens. We can turn willingly towards the truth, even when it’s hard.
“It takes resilience to open our hearts to that which is difficult. We need some ground, some strength and buoyancy inside to face the brokenness of our world.”
[We encourage you to read Oren’s entire message.]
Please let’s all feel free to reach out to one another and to the Valley Insight teachers as we all find our way forward.
With a deep and quiet bow,
The Valley Insight Teachers and Board