Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Empathic Grace

Artwork by Barry Stevens

"Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look at me: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird whose wings are still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing in the
surface of the river.
I am also the bird which, when spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the
clear water of a pond.
I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
I am also the merchant of arms, selling deadly
weapons to Uganda.

I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after
being raped by a sea pirate.
I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with
plenty of power in my hand.
I am also the man who has to pay his
'debt of blood' to my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes
flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it
fills up all the four oceans.

Please call me by my correct names,
so that I can hear all my cries and my laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are but one.

Please call me by my correct names,
so I can become awake,
and so that the door of my heart be left open,
the door of compassion."

- Thich Nhat Hanh, Earth Prayers -

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