28 April 2010

look no further

"We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are rebels who must lay down our arms."

Understanding that I am the problem changes everything about the way that I look at social ills, suffering, compassion, and my place in the world. I'm a pretty socially aware person. I volunteer, support movements, buy tshirts, email my representatives, go barefoot, give money, talk to people in different social strata. And so most of the time I think I'm pretty cool. I look for the problems on the outside: what other people have done, what our governments have done, what society has done, what natural disasters have done.

But really, the problem is on the inside. I am the problem. You can't see the deepest recesses of my heart, but I, sometimes, can, and I can tell you that there is darkness and nasty goop. When I'm honest, I can see quite clearly where all of these ills arise.

Torture comes out of my anger.
War comes out of my greed.
Poverty comes out of my self-absorption.
Oppression comes out of my lust.
The most twisted crimes come out of my indulgence.

That's fundamental. Because if the problem is inside me, the solution sure isn't. I need something on the outside to change me and heal me and make me capable of healing the world.

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