“World Day of Metta takes place every year on March 22. The occasion is one to remind humans about love and acceptance for others and themselves, while also taking a moment of quiet introspection. Metta is a principle under Buddhism that encourages all people to practice unconditional love and benevolence for all beings in the universe. Organizers of this holiday request that people everywhere contemplate, meditate upon, or pray to offer Metta to all living beings in the world. Regardless of your faith, take this day as a chance to reflect on the power of love that can change the world.
HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD DAY OF METTA
Show kindness and love – The whole point of World Day of Metta is to introduce yourself and others to the principle of Metta. So, do what you can to be more loving and accepting of others around you.
Engage in active introspection – Take your time to think about why you struggle to open your heart and mind to the world. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help in the process.
Practice self-love – Metta is about unconditional love and acceptance for all living creatures. That includes you so extend yourself some kindness.
WHY WORLD DAY OF METTA IS IMPORTANT
It shares culture – The holiday encourages people to explore a culture that’s not their own. So go on, broaden your horizons and learn about how someone else lives.
The world needs more love – With the world the way it is, we need all the love and acceptance we can foster. It aims to foster a kinder world and that’s pretty amazing.
It encourages growth – While the principles of Metta may seem difficult and unreasonable they are worth the effort. They teach us empathy and understanding which aims to make us better people.”
“Frederick Douglass was born in February 1818. Though the exact date of his birth is unknown, he chose to celebrate February 14 as his birthday, remembering that his mother called him her “Little Valentine.” Douglass, Frederick (1882). The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: From 1817–1882. London: Christian Age Office. p. 2
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, social reformer, orator, writer, and statesman.
In 1848, Douglass was the only black person to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, in upstate New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women’s suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea … Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor of women’s suffrage; he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could also not claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.
‘In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world.‘
After Douglass’s powerful words, the attendees passed the resolution.
On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and received a standing ovation. Shortly after he returned home, Douglass died of a massive heart attack. He was 77.
Douglass’s coffin was transported to Rochester, NY, where he had lived for 25 years, longer than anywhere else in his life. His body was received in state at City Hall, flags were flown at half mast, and schools adjourned. He was buried next to Anna (his first wife) in the Douglass family plot of Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester’s premier memorial park. Helen (his second wife) was also buried there, in 1903. His grave is, with that of Susan B. Anthony, the most visited in the cemetery. A marker, erected by the University of Rochester and other friends, describes him as “escaped slave, abolitionist, suffragist, journalist and statesman, founder of the Civil Rights Movement in America“. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass
What comes to mind when you first realize it’s February? What memories, historical events or important people come to mind? What about February do you look forward to this year?
Personally, I first think of another Valentine’s Day that I won’t be celebrating. My partner doesn’t like this day and I became less interested myself when my beloved grandfather died on this day. This “holiday” has become more of a dirge than a celebration, a personal St. Valentine’s Day massacre.
Next, I think of Groundhog Day. A funny day and an even funnier movie. Did you know that the Groundhog Day movie is considered a great metaphor for life from a Buddhist perspective?
Then I remember the U.S. Presidential holidays which quite frankly are another mixed message, from my perspective. George Washington was a rich slave owner and Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer who used the Emancipation Proclamation as a war tactic. Fortunately, both of these thoughts remind me that February is Black History Month in the U.S. which is a very good thing to celebrate.
My life has benefited greatly from African American contributions and specific individuals who have demonstrated honor and nobility in their own lives. Many black Mindfulness practitioners have especially role-modeled the benefits of nonduality and nonviolent principles.
Now I’m looking forward to this month and the topics I will be blogging about.
Finally, this mixed-emotional month reminds me of a poem published last year in a self-published book Natural Beauty and Other Poems (c) 2022 Patrick J. Cole
Here’s the poem:
One Tree, One Lonely, February Afternoon
In the middle of a field, far apart from others, that lie in the woods to the West,
stands a tree, alone, exposed on every side; a tree looking different from the rest.
How did this tree end up here, all alone? Does a tree ever have a choice?
Perhaps our ancestral seeds blow where they will and all we have is our voice,
to tell what we know, however small it may be, in whatever field we find ourself.
Sometimes, what stands out, catches our eye, ends up on a mantle or a shelf.
Alone and lonely are two separate states but sometimes they’re intertwined,
like the branches of a tree, one lonely afternoon, in a late February state of mind.
Photo taken by the author in a nearby nature park.
Today we honor the American prophet, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy dedicated to building and maintaining a Beloved Community.
Today’s senryu: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The highest honor
is continuation of
the wisdom received.
A big part of MLK’s legacy are his children, especially his daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King who serves as CEO of The King Center. As her mother Coretta Scott King has said, “if you receive a blessing, you have a duty to share it with others.”
Change is difficult, for us and for the collective. Unfortunately, when we make progress, it’s easy to assume that it will continue without our continued effort. No, we must not give up. Our efforts to sustain the progress is needed today and everyday going forward. It takes all of us to make a Beloved Community.
Today’s senryu: Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Richard Rohr describes how speaking truth to power is an essential part of the prophet’s mission:
One of the gifts of the prophets is that they evoke a crisis where one did not appear to exist before their truth-telling. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr.was blamed for creating violence—but those who had eyes to see and were ready to hear recognized, “My God, the violence was already there!” Structural violence was inherent in the system, but it was denied and disguised. No one was willing to talk about it. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and others said, “We’re going to talk about it.”
Prophets always talk about the untalkable and open a huge new area of “talkability.” For those who are willing to go there, it helps us see what we didn’t know how to see until they helped us to see it. That’s how we begin to recognize a prophet—there is this widening of seeing, this deepening of a truth that was always there.
Prophets generate a crisis, so it’s almost understandable why they’re usually called troublemakers and so often killed. They generate the crisis because while everybody else is saying the emperor is beautifully clothed, they are willing to say, “No, he’s naked.” We’re not supposed to say that the emperor has no clothes!
It’s the nature of culture to have its agreed-upon lies. Culture holds itself together by projecting its shadow side elsewhere. That’s called the “scapegoat mechanism.” René Girard, Gil Bailie, and others have pointed out that the scapegoat mechanism is the subtext of the entire biblical revelation. It’s the tendency to export our evil elsewhere and to hate it there, and therefore to remain in splendid delusion. If there isn’t a willingness to be critical of our country, our institution, and ourselves, we certainly can’t be prophets. 
When the prophet is missing from the story, the shadow side of things is always out of control, as in much of the world today, where we do not honor wisdom or truth.
It seems the prophet’s job is first to deconstruct current illusions, which is the status quo, and then reconstruct on a new and honest foundation. That is why the prophet is never popular with the comfortable or with those in power. Only a holy few have any patience with the deconstruction of egos and institutions.
The prophets are “radical” teachers in the truest sense of the word. The Latin radix means root, and the prophets go to the root causes and root vices and “root” them out! Their educational method is to expose and accuse with no holds barred. Ministers and religion in general tend to concentrate on effects and symptoms, usually a mopping up exercise after the fact. As someone once put it, we throw life preservers to people drowning in the swollen stream, which is all well and good—but prophets work far upstream to find out why the stream is swollen in the first place. 
 Adapted from Joan Chittister and Richard Rohr, Prophets Then, Prophets Now (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2006). Available as MP3 download.
May we be inspired and re-energized for the moments to come.
“What makes us human is not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think but our ability to love.” Henri Nouwen (https://henrinouwen.org/)
A New Beginning!
We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life. Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises.
Imagine that we could walk through the new year always listening to the voice saying to us: “I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it!” Imagine. Is it possible that our imagination can lead us to the truth of our lives? Yes, it can!
The problem is that we allow our past, which becomes longer and longer each year, to say to us: “You know it all; you have seen it all, be realistic; the future will just be a repeat of the past. Try to survive it as best you can.”
There are many cunning foxes jumping on our shoulders and whispering in our ears the great lie: “There is nothing new under the sun… don’t let yourself be fooled.” When we listen to these foxes, they eventually prove themselves right: our new year, our new day, our new hour become flat, boring, dull, and without anything new.So what are we to do?
First, we must send the foxes back to where they belong: in their foxholes. And then we must open our minds and our hearts to the voice that resounds through the valleys and hills of our life saying: “Let me show you where I live among my people. My name is ‘God-with-you.’ I will wipe all the tears from your eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone” (Revelation 21:2–5).
With all the different holidays being celebrated this time of year, I wanted to find something to share that might appeal to the beautiful and diverse group of people who read this blog. Below is something I read earlier this week written by Rabbi Rami Shapiro that appealed to me. I sincerely hope it offers something to you as well.
“I love Christmas. My neighbors love Christ. This is not the same thing.
To me Christmas heralds the Very Good News that if a first century rabbi could realize the Truth at the mystic heart of his and every religion—“I and the Divine are one” (John 10:30)—then so can we. This is the same Very Good News taught by sages before and after Jesus:
I am you and you are I; wherever you are, there I am … And in whatever place you wish, you may gather Me, but when you gather Me, you gather yourself. (Gospel of Eve)
My Me is God, nor do I recognize any other Me except God. (St. Catherine of Genoa)
Beyond the senses is the brain. Beyond the brain is the intellect. Beyond the intellect is the Great Atman. Beyond the Great Atman is the Unmanifest Brahman. Beyond the Unmanifest Brahman is the I, all–pervading Subject impossible to objectify. (Katha Upanishad 2.3 7–8)
The awakened one is no longer separated from God, and behold you are God, and God is you. So, know that I, even I, am God. God is I and I am God. (Rabbi Abraham Abulafia)
I am Truth. There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God. There is nothing in my cloak but God. (Mansur al–Hallaj)
To me Christmas is hopeful: a time to celebrate the potential for God-Realization in all of us.To my neighbors Christmas seems fearful: a time to circle the wagons and bemoan how besieged Christians are—not in countries where they are actually persecuted such as the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia but in the most Christian friendly country on earth: the United States of America.
As I walk through my neighborhood and exchange friendly shouts of “Merry Christmas” with my neighbors, I take pleasure in seeing houses draped with Christmas lights and lawns taken over by manger scenes. So, you might forgive my confusion when my neighbors tell me that their right to openly affirm their religion is being denied them, and that they are shunned for saying “Merry Christmas,” and that this War on Christmas gets stronger every year.
To me the War on Christmas is an odd but understandable response to the success of Christianity in the United States. Christians aren’t meant to be successful: Blessed are the poor, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty “who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:10). The problem for my neighbors is that they aren’t poor, meek, hungry, thirsty, or persecuted. Indeed, they are often seen as the persecutors. And because they aren’t persecuted, they fear their place in the Kingdom of Heaven is iffy at best.
The obvious solution—obvious to me at any rate—is for them to take up the causes for which Jesus died: the cessation of othering, injustice, and oppression, and doing right by “the least” among us (Matthew 25). As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. showed us, it doesn’t take long before this Christian message threatens the Powers That Be in America and one becomes “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” Sadly, it is easier to imagine a War on Christmas instead.
I refuse to engage with the War on Christmas. I choose instead to celebrate the Very Good News that You are God (Tat Tvam Asi and Alles iz Gott as we say in Sanskrit and Yiddish). And when I wish you “Merry Christmas” know that what I am wishing you is this: May your celebration of the birth of Jesus birth your own awakening to the joyous fact that you and God are one.