Return of The Jedi
In Hebrew the word “Jedi” means “Beloved of God”. What the world needs now is “The Return of The Beloved of God.”
One of the least known interpretations of the term “Beloved by God” refers to “one human beings love for another human being.” What the world needs so much more than anything, “Is love expressed and shared regularly, randomly, unconditionally, with one another.”
Thomas Merton writes, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another…You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope….Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”
“Worthy” of what? Of Creation? Of a planet which the Japanese often refer to, to describe our Mother Earth, “The Great Benefactor,” Who withholds her gifts from no one?
During this time of prayer, often offered on high in the form of a petition, there should be only one request, one that is powerful enough to meet all petitions, “Dear Lord help me find where love is needed, where love is the cure for what is needed, and give me the courage to be that planter of the Seed which Created the Universe and sustained it long before we forgotten it…make me a Jedi oh Lord.” As Einstein once said, “…The rest is simply details.”
At the very heart of all Buddhist teachings is that, “Understanding is love’s other name” — that to love another means to fully understand his or her suffering. (“Suffering” may sound rather dramatic, certainly not during these days for so many as well as in history, but in Buddhism it refers to any source of profound dissatisfaction — be it physical or psycho-emotional or spiritual.) “Understanding,” requires both on each individuals part, to be open to “intimacy” and “experience”. How can I understand anything I have no intimate experience of? In “The Kingdom of God,” and in “The Pure-land of Buddhism,” there are no strangers, there can be no strangers, all ARE Children of God, ALL are Buddha’s.
Often in practicing spirituality we make the mistake that practice or training is closing ourselves off to the “dark side,” protecting ourselves; while the opposite is true. Our work is to open our hearts and minds to the “suffering which exists in the world.” To welcome it, to receive it with courage and faith, and with our hearts transform it.
We begin with our own “suffering,” our own “discontentment”. We must stop trying to be what we are not. There are times when I, Seijaku Roshi, am filled with “fear and even worriment”. Having grown up in a family of Sicilians and Germans it has taken many, many years to balance the strong from the weak. I had to learn to “be strong” and when afraid, reach out and ask for what I needed. Most especially it has only been recently, since I was diagnosed with cancer, that I have learned the wondrous, miraculous, infinite power of the words, “I Love You.” What followed was a sense of deep connection with “other” which always lead to the words, “Please, please, take care of yourself.” I now know more than ever that the “interconnectedness” we share is truly “interconnected”. “Other’s” well-being is so essential for my own.
The Buddhist word for love is, “Maitrī (Sanskrit; Pali: mettā) means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others.” We cannot truly love one-another apart from an active interest in other’s happiness and well-being. There are days in which it feels so impossible to consider others suffering while I, feel lonely, painful, and fearful. It is then that, always by some great mystery, someone calls me, someone emails me, they share their suffering, and in that moment my own is resolved, at least for the moment.
I realize that I am speaking of a generations old idea —“Love One another.” Perhaps we keep “speaking about it” because we need to stop speaking about it and consciously and deliberately, with audacity, with courage, and with faith, begin to act on it now, “as if our lives depend on it as well as the life of the Great Benefactor, our Mother Earth.” Because it Does!
We can no longer put off to tomorrow what must be attended to today if there will be a tomorrow for any one of us.
Start with yourself. May your words and actions you think and speak when you are speaking to your lifelong “secret friend,” be benevolent, loving, kind, gentle, always forgiving, friendly, always with good will, and patiently interested. Once you have achieved this for yourself, extend it outward to your spouse or partner, then to your sibling; children; grandchildren, your entire family. The your neighbor and finally the stranger you meet everyday everywhere. Do this deliberately and with commitment every single day and as often as possible throughout the day. You and I know when we put down our “sabers” we can never get enough of it — neither can they!
Let’s make a promise to each other. Let’s promise we will do just this. We can start with one another — “I Love You!” “Please, Please take care of yourself!”
I really Do Love You!