Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Rebel For A Good Cause

--by Sharon Salzberg (Jun 30, 2008)

A friend of mine, at the end of a retreat, offered a provocative reflection that intrigued and inspired me. After looking intensively at her inner experience for nine days of meditation and seeing many of her life choices in a brand new light, she commented, "If you really want to be a rebel, practice kindness." [...]

I think she was absolutely right about kindness and rebellion.

The world may tell us to grab as much as we want, and we might think that the audacity of rebelliousness is to grab even more with impunity, but how about being really radical and questioning how much we need? Conventional wisdom may be that retribution displays strength and can summarily bring an end to conflicts, but how about taking a leap and challenging ourselves to a whole new meaning of resolution based on mutuality and caring? The easy way may be to turn away and distract ourselves form the distress and suffering of others, but how about being daring enough to pay attention? Our conditioning may tell us we don't need anybody, but how about taking a real look at life and noticing that we are all entwined in a fabric of interdependence, then being willing to risk acting accordingly?

Although in current times there are some common connotations of morality as expressing fear of life or prudishness, in fact a commitment to ethics is a commitment to living life in the most free, most loving, most expansive sense. As the philosopher George Santayana said, "Morality is the desire to lessen suffering in the world." Living in a way that doesn't perpetuate hurting ourselves or hurting another is considered to be an expression both of great power and great compassion.[...]

There is no way to lash out at someone physically or verbally, to belittle their achievements, to exploit them in some way, to consider them unworthy of hearing the truth, and emerge undamaged ourselves. We are capable of so much more, and we dishonor that potential when we don't live with integrity.

--Sharon Salzberg

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Previous Reflections:

On Jul 1, 2008 Marcia wrote:
This weekly email always puts me in a better mood.

On Jul 1, 2008 meg wrote:
How true! We're tending to be more and more individualist, when the truth is we need each other even when we don't think so.
If we find the beauty in each person and discover the joy in sharing our life will be much easier.

On Jul 1, 2008 Conrad wrote:
This comment is inspiring as was your recent comment from Theodore Rubin:s "Kindness is more important than wisdom." He also added something like, and realizing this is the beginning of wisdom. Thanks Nipun for making these available.

On Jul 1, 2008 Magnificant wrote:

~ Namaste

On Jul 2, 2008 Pancho wrote:
"Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thoughts creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
Therefore the highest form of wisdom is kindness." - Lao Tzu

If you want to be a rebel, be kind. Human-kind, be both. ;-)


On Jul 2, 2008 Pancho wrote:
The kindness revolution is on!

TOW pulls my soul in a happier mode :-)

The Mehta family -or should I say Metta? ;-) - is what we need more of in this world. Muchas gracias for being who you are.

On Jul 5, 2008 sola wrote:
i need an article that can motivate people in various ways.pls send them to me.i love you

On Jul 5, 2008 Ann wrote:
"To live is unusual-Most people just exist"
I'm in healthcare and act as a change agent helping individuals make lifestyle changes-be in control.
We are all individualist, have the ability to make change for ourselves and the greater whole. We just need to change peoples focus and societal norms.