Reader comment on Michael Singer's passage ...

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    On Aug 10, 2009 Pancho wrote:

    My family calls me Pancho and I love you all...

    After reading the passage and listening to some of our siblings in the sharing circle, these thoughts/feelings came through me. I'd love to share with you 3 points:

    1. A recycled radical thought.
    2. A message from the Buddha.
    3. A personal story about the importance to not focus on the "what", but in the process, the "how"

    1. A recycled radical thought.

    Being In Receptive Silence (BIRS) is a radical political move for it involves a deliberate change in the human heart. There are many ways one can practice BIRS. The one that has worked better for me is meditation (particularly, the Vipassana technique) but one can also practice silent prayers or contemplation of Nature.

    2. A message from the Buddha.

    Once the Buddha said: "More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does a greater harm. More than your mother, more than your father, more than all your family, a well disciplined mind does greater good." That is, there is nothing worse than an uncontrolled mind and there is nothing better than a disciplined, well trained mind. And that's what we are doing here on Wednesdays [and hopefully the rest of the week!], we are training our minds.

    3. A story about the "how" not the "what".

    Lately, I've been very excited about the idea to start a Shanti Sena (a Peace Army) in the Bay Area. So, I contacted a brother who has being a key witness, for many years, in many of the shanti sena-like stories in East Los Angeles in the 1990s and other parts of the World. I called him to learn more about these inspiring actions. I introduce myself and he greeted me with wonderful news: he just became a father the previous week and he wanted to give full attention to his newborn for the next couple of months. That meant no Shanti Sena talk for today, or any time soon. I was very happy to know that a new soul was brought to this World in such a peaceful environment, and for a fraction of a second, my learning-in-process mind jumped and said: "but what about the stories?". I swiftly recovered from that self-centered idea, and I decided to drop the purpose of the call and to focus on connecting with the new dad. That is, I remembered that our means are our ends, and that the "how" is more important than the "what".

    Not only we spoke for 30 minutes or so, not only he shared the beautiful name of his daughter Leah Toyomi -sp?- (that means "full of beauty" in Japaneese), not only he shared intimate painful chapters of his wife's mother story (a Hibakusha = a Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivor), not only this kind brother asked me about my story, not only he shared 3 touching moving stories of brave women stepping up for their communities, not only he asked me to send him an email with the first/fresh ideas of the peace team, not only that... he was totally present with me, and without letting me know, he paused his dinner (fro 30 minutes!) to talk with me. That's right, this man pushed his compassion button for me and gave me one of the best gifts a father (or any human being!) can give: "attentive presence" (another name for "alert stillness").

    That connection we made at the SOULlular level was only possible because we focused not in the "what" but in the "how". Hopefully, with a bit of more training, that is more BIRS, my mind won't have that fraction-of-a-second distraction and next time I'll be more sensitive to ask my siblings if it is meal time. I know Ken is on his way to become a remarkable father.

    May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.

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