SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to staying open to the potential of the present moment while at the same time accepting its reality? Can you share an experience of a time where you saw things correctly while also participating in being the change? How do you develop the ability to face the reality of difficult situations while also staying rooted in the full potential that you embody?
I am so touched and am in Awe !
What a great spirit Moyo is.
As a young man I spent 6 months in solitary in a German prison on drug related issues and that 6 months was the most profound and personally educational period of my life. The lessons learned when one is forced to be with oneself and no others are deep indeed and perhaps may be unattainable any other way. My lesson was admittedly an easy one at 6 months only and I send all of my heart to Moyo and admire and commend his courage.
This is an important voice (general) that needs to be heard. Our society is huge and fast, we tend to forget those on the fringes and the fact that they have important lessons we all might do well to share.
Moyo's story is another sad example of our judicial system. When 'Angulimaal' can turn over a new leaf under the influence of the Buddha, why are we condemning those who have erred? I have met many like Moyo in Indian prisons and they were veritable saints, making me wonder why they were inside a prison when many who ought to have been inside were roaming outside scot free. Are we using prisons as 'correctional' institutions or are we mistaking vengeance as justice? What can we do to stimulate and nurture the good that is in each one of us?
We all "have cells" (difficult situations) in life! (Some "cells" more difficult than others, rightly.) The confines of most things/people we commit ourselves to ... Jobs, study, parenting, marriage, relationships ... Are well defined. There are rules, requirements, consuming commitments and disciplines involved with each. "Staying rooted" in the right stuff is key. Rooted in Christ (His light, way and truth) ... We stay anchored!
From my own personal "cells", I can flourish ... But ONLY by staying connected to my Anchor.
The prison cell of each of us is very different than that of the author, and I wouldn't want to trade places with him -- we are each in our own self created prison cell to find freedom in and become free of. We each have a purpose which is to become all that we can become and be of help to others doing the same. I think the author is growing and sharing, so he has that purpose and worth, which are important. We can stay open by knowing that we are in this world but not of it. I at least sometimes stay open to the present moment with its potential and stay aware of my inner truth while at the same time dealing with the reality of this world. I often feel in two worlds at once. Somewhere along the way I learned that there is the inner world of my present experience and the outer world of situations. My being aware of being in the world and not of it and living from that awareness helps me develop the ability to do it more. Thank you, author, for your words of wisdom.[Hide Full Comment]
I find myself surprised and moved by this writing as an Awakin passage. I relate to Moyo's deep desire to in some way be useful or of service to life; his protest to not have his organs poisoned during a lethal injection process so that they can be donated to others...just strikes at the heart. Disarming sincerity and heart-cracking volition.
I remember thinking many years back that if I didn't seem to be making much of my life in my standard context, that at the least I could go to any place that had apparent needs and just volunteer, make some use of my life. That's kind of a strange thought for a college-age kid in some ways, but in others maybe not. I have since come to see other angles of that thought: that in many ways it is myself that I want to serve, my own sense of peace that I want to find ways to keep cultivating.
Moyo acknowledge an important part of his practice: to see things clearly, as they are. I recently heard (and someone please correct/amend if you know better) the literal translation of a Pali word "panna", typically called wisdom, is something like "to see things from multiple angles." Part of what's so touching to me in Moyo's sincerity is his acknowledgement of multiple angles: e.g. his cell as different from a monastery cell but at the same time affording some similar opportunities. I wonder if he sees/can get the feedback from the angle of his art and writing touching others.
His drawing looks to me like a kind of E.T. Buddha. :) Haha, I like it very much. Thank you for sharing Moyo.
How to turn a cell into a retreat for deep introspection and transformation? How to be a change agent by confronting nonviolently unjust and inhuman acts done by powerful forces? Most of us face such existential and significant questions to work on ourselves and work for a just cause. This is an inspiring story of an inner transformational process of a young man on a death row.
How I relate to this inspiring story as a mirror to look at my inner landscape and how do I relate to inhuman and unjust acts happening in the world I live in? I firmly believe that in order to see the outer world clearly and comprehensively, I need to continuously keep on working to see and understand my inner world clearly, compassionately, and courageously. It is like a coin with two sides-the inner and the outer. The inner world needs to be cleared and transformed to clear and transform the outer world. Such inner explorations require a cell time, a retreat time to sit, pause, and see. Such retreats can be short or long. I always find time for me from my busy and active life to do mindfulness meditation. This is my time for stepping out of my everyday busy time.This is my quiet time be fully present to my inner world, letting the noisy mind stuff-thoughts and emotions- come and go. I am freeing myself from myself. This practice has helped me to understand and transform myself and relate to the outer world more constructively. I see myself progressing slowly but steadily. This is not a one shot deal. It is an ongoing and encouraging self -work.
May we find some time everyday from our busy time to do such mindfulness introspective work to heal ourselves and others!
Jagdish P Dave
Many of the men I see every week spent years - and several over a decade - in solitary confinement. The impact to the human soul is astounding. In their brokenness grows either deeper fuller hate or they find the nourishment for the seeds of positivity and grace we all carry in our hearts. I spend time with the men who have found and then nourished those seeds and they speak of the moment they realized that they are responsible for their lives. When that kicks in, the solitary environment becomes a welcome space to explore the unknown world within. They learn to embrace their alone time and use it to grow and transform. What lessons I receive from these men! Just last night, one of them shared deeply about his discovery of listening, how all the answers show up if he just slows down to listen.