Committed — Divided No More

Committed — Divided No More

Discussion date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, after our sitting, we will explore the clarity and power of commitment with a special guest, Alex Foster, who is preparing to ride a self-built solar-powered tricycle from the easternmost town in the continental US (Lubec, Maine) to the westernmost town (Cape Alava, Washington).

Long time Still Water practitioner Paul Wapner will facilitate our discussion about fully committing to what we believe. These are his notes about Alex and commitment.

Last spring, I received a moving letter from a young man, Alex Foster. A few years out of high school, Alex hit a point in his life at which he had to change direction. Deeply concerned about climate change and related global issues, Alex felt that he wasn’t dedicating himself as fully as he could. The world was crashing around him, and he was looking for a way to express his concern and engage himself in a meaningful and effective way. Phrased somewhat differently: Alex was at odds with himself. His actions and preoccupations were in-congruent with what he knew and cared deeply about.

Then, Alex had an epiphany: he would ride a solar-powered tricycle from the east coast to the west coast with the intention of raising awareness about climate change, peak oil, and the environment. Along the way, he would not only meet with people to discuss his concerns, but also examine his deepest commitments and come to know himself in the crucible of making a commitment.

This Thursday, Alex will share his story and his decision to undertake his journey as a way to invite us all to reflect on those times in our lives when we have felt divided, and made the commitment to be divided no more. Righting ourselves with the world and our deepest values is a lifelong practice. What can we learn by reflecting upon it?

You are invited to join us. Information about Alex’s journey is on his web site: Trektochangetheworld.com. There is also an informative vimeo interview with Alex.

I’ve included below a related except by Aung San Suu Kyi on the importance and meaning of commitment.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner

Senior Teacher

. You Are Invited to Join Us

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A Calm Mind and a Joyful Heart: Introduction to Mindfulness Practice, February 6, at Crossings in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Smiling like a Buddha: A Ten-Session Mindfulness Meditation Class, February 13 – May 7, at Crossings in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Settling into Silence: Still Water Practice Retreat, February 17-19, at the Charter Hall Retreat Center, Perryville, Maryland.


Commitment First:

by Aung San Suu Kyi,

from an interview conducted by Judith White, Turning Wheel, Summer, 1998.

The role of people who are involved in political leadership is to convince others to commit themselves to a certain cause. Once you are committed, then you can really move mountains. But so very few people–including leaders–are really committed. You can’t persuade other people to commit themselves if you yourself are not committed. … Commitment to a cause means commitment to a cause beyond your own personal circumstances, beyond your own inclinations. And it is not easy for people to do that. They will commit themselves, but only to a certain extent, because they will not do anything that they feel will hurt their personal standing or their family. You have to identify with the cause to which you are committed, so that you achieve fulfillment from working for the cause rather than from personal satisfaction. . . .

So you have to find people who are as committed as you are. You will find out this the hard way sometimes, by a process of painful elimination.

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012


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