Courageous Engagement: Seeing The Tiny Cuts

This week we will be exploring the 3rd section of Chapter 1, pp 25-35.  As I read through the words it struck me how common it is for a marginalized person to be aware of the tiny cuts of oppression.  But what if you didn’t know or consider oneself as “marginalized”.  You would not know of your collusion in your own oppression.  Nor would you be able to see your unwitting push to maintain status quo, the very thing that generates your oppression.  You would feel the inner pain and anguish from the weigh of the system but remain unable to free yourself from its true causes.  There is an obscure sickness in our current societal systems/structures and our reliance upon them for affirmation and safety will surely lead to more suffering and death.

There is, however, another way to live but first we must see the tiny cuts that are the cause of our inner pain and anguish.  We see these cuts by our willingness to let pain and dissonance of our discontent rise up within us and the veil of confusion drop away.  According to Thannissara, “the challenge is to be utterly realistic about what we face, while maintaining our practice of Dharma and our well- being.  We do this better when we collaborate”.  In my view, this means the cultivation and development of a strong, socially committed sangha (community of practitioners).

This weeks practice questions:  Can you be “utterly realistic”, without falling into judgment and blame, about how it is in the world?  Can you see the “tiny cuts” of your everyday life?  How connected are you to a group or community around your heartbreak issue?  Is this group or community active in empowering you to challenge the structures that maintain oppression in the world?  What would it take for you to feel our natural capacity to transform self and society?




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