New Year message from Roshi Joan Halifax:
For 2020, I am deeply advocating for our collective and individual realization of wise hope, hope grounded in boundless compassion.
Wise hope reflects the understanding that what we do matters, even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can really know beforehand. Our vows, our actions, how we live, what we care about, what we care for, and how we care really do matter all the same.
The peacemaker Daniel Berrigan once remarked “One cannot level one’s moral lance at every evil in the universe. There are just too many of them. But you can do something; and the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything.” Berrigan understood that wise hope doesn’t mean denying the realities that we are confronted with today. It means facing them, addressing them, and remembering what else is present, like the shifts in our values that recognize and move us to address suffering right now.
For many of us, it is an imperative to march for peace, to work for the ending of nuclear proliferation, to engage in climate protests, to put pressure on the US government to re-sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It makes sense to shelter the homeless, including those fleeing from war and climate devastation; it makes sense to support compassion and care in medicine in spite of the increasing presence of technology that stands between patients and clinicians. It makes sense to educate girls and vote for women. It makes sense to sit with dying people, take care of our elders, feed the hungry, love and educate our children. In truth, we can’t know how things will turn out, but we can trust that there will be movement, there will be change. And at the same time, something deep inside us affirms what is good and right to do.
So my aspiration for you, for me, in this coming year is to actualize bravely wise hope, hope that is based in unconditional compassion. May we do this together, for the benefit of all beings.