Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Green Zen


Photo credit: schmitee from morguefile.com

Today's post comes from my herbal medicine blog at NGTHerbals. Here is an excerpt.

Sometime in the middle of the 8th century, a Zen hermit living in China penned a now famous poem entitled "Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage." It begins with the following lines:

"I've built a grass hut where there's nothing of value.

After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.

When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.

Now it's been lived in - covered by weeds."

Whenever I work with the plants, I try and remember these words. The relaxed attitude about it all. The lack of fixation on certain things having value. The surrender to the fact that no matter what, there are always weeds. All around us, and inside our minds as well.

I try and remember, but more often than not I forget. Or loose track while I pick, pluck, and hack away, claiming the burdock roots for their liver health giving properties, while thrusting away the overgrown grape vines that have no clear use.

If we truly want to be healed and liberated, we need to bow down to the mystery of it all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

On Charleston, Terrorism, and the Future of America


Photo credit: erdenebayar from morguefile.com

Nothing short of an extended, ritual purification and reconciliation will do at this point. Removing and burning Confederate flags is only a starting point. We must burn the entire house of white supremacy to the ground. Every last root needs to be dug up, and held high to the sky until the sun of our hearts dries it to a crisp. All the laws, institutions, and national myths that uphold a largely white elite, and pit the rest of us against each other, must be taken down to the river of our tears and drowned forever.

Remembering, or perhaps learning for the first time, that the terrorism of Dylan Roof is the terrorism of Eric Casebolt is the terrorism of Darren Wilson is the terrorism of your white neighbor, white co-worker, white family member blaming black and brown folks for the ceaseless police violence against them is the terrorism of Monsanto the terrorism of Koch Industries the terrorism of Lockheed Martin the terrorism of Goldman Sachs the terrorism of Wells Fargo the terrorism of US Bank the terrorism of Corrections Corporation of America is the terrorism of Wall Street, J Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue is the terrorism of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the terrorism of a Calvinistic prison system is the terrorism of Pearson Education, CASAS, and the hegemony of standardized testing is the terrorism of endless privatizing of public lands is the terrorism of gentrification is the terrorism of Fox News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, ABC, CBS, the TImes, the Post, the Tribune, the USA Today is terrorism. Beneath the gloss, grit, and surface grime, we are terrorism.

And that's ultimately what we will be as a nation. Until we find a way to reconcile with each other and with the Earth that is our home, our subsistence, our very breath.

Those of us who benefit the most under the current system in particular are being called upon to turn away from the terrorism that built this place. To turn and keep our hearts and minds in the direction of justice for all those who suffer so mightily.

Let's remember that everyone's liberation is intimately tied together. Let's stoke the furnace of a love that moves mountains, even if it takes lifetimes to accomplish.