To be unaware of the scale of problems confronting humanity would mean that one's "living" is occurring in a bubble: isolated from everyone else and from reality... and, on the other hand, to open oneself to awareness is to take a profound risk: awareness can lead to despair and the desire for a "bubble"... or it might, it just might, lead to the conviction that this Planet matters: that life matters: and that it could be our personal responsibility to make a difference with the fact of our living... this personal responsibility puts us -- for better or for worse -- in proximity to our sacred potential...
Our sacred potential is a path that surely leads somewhere! It is a path that identifies itself as not "against" something, but instead as "for" something: we are not just about the business of identifying every wrong, so much as identifying where it is that we should be consciously tending in our practices and in our policies. The screamers (like Senator Ted Cruz) feed on fear and seek to amp it up so as to personally benefit from it (perhaps riding that wave to the pinnacle of the Presidency)... the builders, on the other hand, know full well all that is "wrong" and supremely challenging (like war, fundamentalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, greed, ecocide, etc.) and yet direct their energy to the construction of alternatives and bridges to the future we want for our children and every child... The builders begin with justice...
What is justice? Perhaps we might answer by way of "mercy": if mercy is the awakening action that follows after embracing the pain and suffering of others, then justice is the wisdom that seeks to remove every cause of pain and suffering... a just and merciful community (nation) lives and operates from within this "praxis of solidarity"... Mercy embraces the broken hearts and lives of everyone in our community (nation: world)... Mercy is the very human act of grieving with another -- this grief is the spark of empathy and compassion... Without mercy, we ultimately fail in both our humanity and in our "proximity to potential"...
Justice is the activation of compassion: justice seeks out the roots of suffering in the darkness of every separation, applying the radical remedies of forgiveness, kindness, neighborliness, and the unity of solidarity: no one is safe, free, or filled with potential unless everyone is safe, free, and in proximity to potential... The screamers demand walls: the builders want bridges... The screamers demand boots on the ground and missiles in the air: the builders want diplomacy and the creation of the conditions for peace... The screamers demand unlimited access to weapons of mass destruction: the builders want a civilization worthy of its citizens... The screamers demand the domination of women, other races, different sexual orientations, and the freedom to extract every cent of profit possible from the Earth and the "open market": the builders want equality for everyone and the wisdom of serving / working forward seven generations into the future... The proximity to our sacred potential is the manifestation of justice, mercy, and civilization... (which is also, by the way, the practice of genuine religion...)
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.