So spoke my Buddhist Dharma teacher last Sunday, as we 32 women sat in a circle, meditating for the day. We were grieving the shootings in New Zealand, the hopeful joy of the climate change striking schoolchildren, and the intimate loss of one of our women, who had just died from breast cancer, leaving behind two children and her husband.
The teachings of the Dharma encourage us to take Wise Action, use Wise Speech, and choose a Wise Livelihood. Much has been made of the photo of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mourning after the shootings, and rightly so. It’s easy to see: she’s in her sad heart, feeling and expressing both empathy & sympathy for the Muslim community, and the larger New Zealand population and culture. Her wise speeches and actions are inspiring people all around the world.
Why is this such an unusual phenomenon? World leaders NEED to be empathetic, generous, kind, and most importantly, compassionate.
We all do.
The Dharma Circle involves meditation, sharing a brief check-in of where we’re at, listening to some teachings, meditating more, then witnessing 3 or 4 ‘deeper enquiries’ by individuals in front of the class with the teacher, before sharing a delicious lunch and more meditating.
It all feels like a cool drink for my soul on a hot desert day.
And more than anything, we practise compassion, and deep listening. We’re not charging in with aggressive solutions, such as our shameful Australian Prime Minister ‘ScoMo’ has suggested: more security, less immigration, less Muslims. For goodness sake!
This world needs more softness, kindness, and empathy. What I can practice on a micro level, sitting beside my son, my lover, or my friends, can ripple outward on a macro level, to touch communities, countries, even whole continents.
New Zealand’s leader has shown this. She has stood quietly in front of grieving mothers (Wise Action), herself a new Mum (her daughter is less than a year old), and is refusing to speak the name of the killer to deprive him of the notoriety he seeks (Wise Speech).
I for one am incredibly grateful she chose the Wise Livelihood of ethical politics, and has risen up through the ranks to become the world’s youngest female head of government.
She makes me want to emigrate. She makes a lot of people want to emigrate. We are still struggling in Australia with idiotic male politicians who brought a lump of coal into Parliament to show their commitment to fossil fuels…
*blows steam out of her ears and gnashes teeth
May the young rise fast, and grab the reins of power before it’s too late. May women be fully empowered, and good men free of the toxicity which binds them. May we witness each other in heart-based actions, whether happy or sad, and model for young folk that we can choose kindness, compassion, and empathy under the most difficult of circumstances.
In gratitude for meditation and wise elders, G xO