Reader comment on Angeles Arrien's passage ...

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    On Jan 10, 2011 Varsha wrote:

    Thanks for all your sharings.


    Somik, I appreciate your online sharing, as it helped me feel I was there.  I am practicing being a silent witness (from here).  Could identify with what many shared.  Although the group I sat with shared different perspectives, I took away from the passage the terms discipline, responsibility, and capacity/capability, and what they really mean to each of us.  It is in the application of these in our lives that I feel makes a difference.


    Discipline: self-control or regulation

    Responsibility: the ability to respond, our duty

    Capacity/Capability: how capable/able we are, our potential


    I relate these with the heart.  In all, what we are able to hold within our hearts can reflect out in the world.  So, discipline (even though is usually regarded as individualistically) can also be a practice that many embody; a more universal responsibility that we carry can help make the world a better place, and how capable we are to achieve this is a result of our discipline/practice.  I related these with a story of the observation of the masses during the holiday season—more gentleness, generosity, giving (in different forms—financially, gifting, practicing giving—all charitable endeavors).  Talking about a steel-drum player I heard on the subway platform and witnessing people connecting to the music (even though he was not playing holiday-themed songs) made me think how we can connect/identify/relate to people we may not normally (I think one way is through individual spiritual practice).


    In terms of the 3 do/don'ts, I couldn’t quite grasp the 2nd one, as when there is nothing to do (even though to some level—there is always something one can do), I would think people may just get lazy and twiddle their thumbs. 


    Our circle was questioning the context of this passage, in referring to land-based peoples.  Was this a term of reference as opposed to sea-faring people or Native/Aboriginal/Indigenous peoples? I think some of us thought we should have read Thomas Cleary’s Zen Lessons as a passage instead—possibly a future reading?   


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