Aware of the common human desire for happiness, safety, health, and the sure knowing of being "wanted", I will exercise my will and energy in humble service of this common good.
We suppose, if there were to be only one Mindfulness Training, if there were to be only a thirty-one word summary of the Sermon on the Mount or a thirty-one word biography of Mahatma Gandhi or St. Francis, these thirty-one words of the Fifth Mindfulness Training would suffice. Happiness is what every human being craves, and here in this training, the means to that end are articulated -- as well as the "tripping-point" on our life-journey's: the pursuit or exercise of power... and then there is power's antidote... When we find ourselves covered in the mud of our power-tripping, we have the option of soaking in the hot tub of simplicity of life, thought, and motivation... and then getting back on track...
One need only briefly (very briefly) consider the evident condition of someone like Senator Ted Cruz (and, sadly, most Republicans): very nearly his every word, even his facial expressions and body language, exude a pronounced hunger for attention and power: and a corresponding loathing and fear of every "other". He is, unfortunately, convinced that his desire for power is a "public service" -- and not a "filler" for an emptiness of heart... (watch a video of his father for an insight into the sons' secret knowing that he will always be unworthy...). The myth of power is that it can fill the emptiness of the human heart: this is glaringly evident in the actions of drug dealers who work for their "gang" (crime syndicates) on our American streets -- as it is also very evident in the words and actions of the myth dealers who work for their "gang" (the Koch Brothers, FOX News, and the "dollarocracy" syndicates)... But on every level, we are all tempted to follow the seductive gaze of power into the back-alleys of our minds and relationships -- this "following" has become entrenched as the Dominator Paradigm which reveals its ugly face in predatory capitalism, fanatical religious literalism, the justification of violence, the oppression of women, minorities, and LGBT folks, and the willful disregard and destruction of this precious blue Planet.
To write these thoughts down is, in a clear way, to present power as "something out there" and only marginally "in here" -- in our own heads, hearts, and lives. When we wrote "we are all tempted to follow the seductive gaze of power", we understood that the Dominator Paradigm is built directly upon our habitual thought patterns, ways of communicating in our families and work-places, and in our network of relationships. The Dominator Paradigm exists because we feed it! We don't just toss it the bones from our plates or the dregs from our cups -- we give it entire harvests and the very best vintage -- year in and year out! Absolutely every time that we are disrespectful to our partner, yell at our children, curse a lousy driver, marginalize and abuse a fellow worker or employee, hunker down into smaller and smaller lives and circles of interests, we are feeding the Dominator Paradigm. This goes on and on and deeper and deeper, until it becomes our unspoken and unwritten self-definitions: and we even pretend that the men who wrote the various Holy Scriptures of the World were somehow exempted from our human condition! But if they were exempt, how could they ever come up with the horrific concept of "Original Sin" and with all of their justifications for oppressing women and for endorsing violence? We are taught to fear-believe that we are fundamentally best defined as "sinners" and not as "delightful images of the Holy One". We are taught to fear-believe that our human worth is always an open question -- and that any "worth" that we might have only comes to us from outside ourselves. And so we come, sooner or later, to the "end" of the human person: we know ourselves to be radically and truly un-loveable. And that horrible knowing is the source of the emptiness that invades our hearts and gives power to the Dominator Paradigm.
The Fifth Mindfulness Training is intended to alter this reality by lightening our load! So we clear the deck of our minds and hearts and relationships! Let's get really radical and speak absolute truth (repeat after us): "I was created by Love, for Love, to become Love. I am worth the very best -- always. I am beautiful, right now, just as I am. I can, and will, change my mind. I will think and speak positively and constructively. I will become an agent of transformation in my family, in my workplace, in my community, and in the world. I am the one that I have been waiting for. I will change the course of human history towards the kind, the gentle, the just, and the beautiful."
To truly live as a human being is to consciously choose a place to stand. The Fifth Mindfulness Training suggests just such a place. Listen to this story: We think of Frances, a homeless woman, someone who has spent years on the margins of our society. Her journey has carried her through the harsh realities of drug addiction, of losing her children, and of losing her way. Yet, she always came back to the Kitchen. As the seasons of her life changed, she found her place in our shelter. She found the beginnings of purpose in volunteering. She found meaning in facilitating a regular NA meeting... What was it that we could see in her through the many years? What is it that we strive to see in every person who somehow gets lost and finds her / his way to the Kitchen? What is it that keeps us going back for more and more? The answer is in the seeing. There is the living light that swirls around us, everyone, and everything: it's very brightness becomes a veil... yet, they are, each and all, transparent; their true reality or nature is desperately seeking ways for breaking through. In the end, we are tasked with assisting in the co-creation of reality through seeing the truth of what has always been there. By affirming the beauty of the person before us, we assist in activating her / his possibilities. The way of service for nonviolence and justice blesses us everyday with opportunities to help Frances name her reality: Who is special? "I am special!" Who does God love? "Me!" Who do you love? "Me!" Who else do you love? "You!" And what are you worth? "The very best! I am worth Love!"
Aware of the common human desire fore happiness, safety, health, and the sure knowing of being "wanted", I will exercise my will and energy in humble service of this common good.
How can we encourage people to commit to lifestyles that promote equality and the common good -- for everyone on this precious blue Planet?
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence, for God is Love. Love is my true character. Love is my name. -- Thomas Merton
I love, therefore being is, and life is worth the pain of having lived. -- Emmanual Mounier
Love is an action, never simply a feeling. -- bell hooks
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.