Our Original Strength and Compassion

Practicing with don’t-know means practicing with focused awareness coupled with the question, What is this? When something happens as huge as the Earth’s climate change, it can be difficult to face it and to know what to do. There can be the tendency to want to put our heads in the sand.

When I first understood that the ice caps are melting at a much faster rate than had previously been predicted, and consequently the sea levels are rising rapidly, one of my thoughts was “Oh my, this is all going on in my lifetime! Human beings have been around for thousands of years. Why does this have to happen when I’m alive?” Well, that thought is a perfect example of attaching to self and other. It’s also an example of attaching to time and space. It’s not a good example of don’t-know! It came from feeling afraid: afraid for my child, my grandchildren, for humanity, animals, rivers, oceans . . . it’s so hard to conceive of.

When we can take the fear and just own it and learn from it, that is our don’t-know returning us to our original strength and compassion. With our breath, move the fear and sadness down from our head, down from our heart, all the way to our center and ask, “What can I do? How can I help?” Our vow can come to life when we are able to breathe into our strong center. This is our practice.

Kwan Seum Bosal means, “Listen to the cries of the universe.” Cry, fear and enter the lessons this universe is constantly giving. Enter the unknown, before thoughts of heaven and hell, loss and gain. We need to unconditionally move into life, and because of our fear and sadness, we will find our center. Our vow and direction are right there. When we attain that, we can truly find the way to help this thing we call Earth.

By Zen Master Soeng Hyang