My teacher Robert Aitken Roshi was once asked how to enlighten a quadratic equation. He responded: “Include it.”
We are, with all beings, the warp and woof of a vast fabric without dimension and without time, existing right here now. A connective tissue. But we feel isolated and disconnected. As groups and countries, we amplify this state of affairs, creating massive alienation, anguish, and despair.
I recently watched “I Am Not Your Negro,” a film about James Baldwin and racism in America. The certainty writ on the faces of whites as they hurled epithets, spat on, and watched lynched blacks was stunning. They had total conviction that they were right about an incontrovertible ‘fact’: that blacks are sub-human. This is delusion at its most insidious. Caught up, they lost some of their humanity, too.
One meaning of dukkha, suffering, is ‘difficult to face.’ In order to become fully human, to be peace, we must be willing to encounter and include our own afflictions; with kindness, persistence, and skill.
Limitless belonging, vast and fathomless, is our original home. We practice it by the radical act of inclusion.