I saw a couple eating donuts in the busted out windows of a Dunkin, having a blast. It was weird, but cute. Two pedals of my bike later there was a cop who didn’t seem to care. Definitely strange. I was looking for the George Floyd protest? Did I miss it? It’s smoky everywhere…
As I pedaled up to Broad Street I realized Downtown Philly was an action movie scene of firemen and cops and people and store alarms in every direction. There were cars occasionally flying through the street, women twerking at some sort of military tank, helicopters with spotlights dipping overhead, dirt bikes driving on the sidewalk, people jumping in and out of busted windows with their loot, an old man chasing tween looter girls off into the alleyway while a guy ran up behind him yelling “gas leak!”, a downtown building engulfed in flames, a man in uniform rolling by on a stretcher, a mom rolling her baby in a stroller over the fire hoses laid across the streets to shop the looting remnants that had been dropped on the sidewalks, strangers’ exchanging “what-the-fuck-am-I-watching-right-now” wide eyes above their coronavirus masks.
The week beyond continued with police chases, vandalism, the city’s windows boarded up, cars vandalized or stolen, places set on fire, ATMs blown up, mobs of police and National Guard patrolling the city, citizens in streets with baseball bats and guns; Detention center inmates banging the walls in support of the protests outside, enormous beautiful marches ALL OVER the city, and in them, spontaneous race conversations between black people and white people, communities and cops, white people and white people, parents and kids, and suppressive POLICIES AND LAWS AND RULES BEING CHANGED.
Exactly one week later I closed the window to turn off the occasional lingering siren and helicopter noise and hypnotized myself into the latest Tara Brach meditation where she takes you directly inward – to that stunning, glowing inner space that radiates outward beyond the furthest stars.
“imagining and feeling the space that fills this whole body.
The interior space that all the aliveness arises from,
Can you imagine that space
That extends outward and outward in front of you
Beyond the furthest stars
Can you imagine and feel that this vast, boundless outer space
And this endless interior space are continuous
Can you imagine and sense that everything you experience
Is floating in
And moving in this continuous space
And can you imagine and feel that this continuous space
Is suffused with the light of awareness.
Radiant with the light of awareness.”
And in the heart:
“Can you imagine & feel how this continuous
light filled space
is experienced in the dimension of the heart.
This human heart.”
You might notice the heart at the center of the painting.
“The Radiant Sutras:
There’s a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?”
Finally, the meditation implores:
“sense if there’s any message,
something that’s valuable to remember in this moment.”
I stumbled over myself to get to my paints.
The way I see it, as long as America has been addressing race, white people have been in fear of losing their way of living, as the population continues to grow and sprawl, and cultures continue to collide, especially the poorer parts of both cultures - thats where the sparks really seem to ignite. It's like if the Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears had been living mostly separately all this time, and Polar Bears had been blindly (and not so blindly) keeping the Grizzly bears from food and shelter. Then as the bear population grows and they're all living in the same spaces, instead of Polar Bears and Grizzly bears being like "Hey we can learn how to do this together", the Polar bears are like "fuck you get off my lawn" and the Grizzly bears are like "well then fuck you, it's been hundreds of years of this shit, we're going to steal your Nikes." Or something like that.
So then what's the valuable thing to remember in this moment?
To me, it's to brush off the bullshit swirling around out there and find and maintain the light and energy that brings us together, to stop being blind to the ways myself, my communities, my companies, my country have been dividing people for centuries, especially black people, and share the ways we can find joy and acceptance with our differences as we all culture clash, because its going to happen whether white people like it or not. ✨
- Tara Brach in Meditation: Spacious, Loving Awareness (from retreat), on May 28, 2020, as humanity begins to break out into a turbulent and promising #BlackLivesMatter movement
The radiant light that unites us, comes from within us. We are all stardust.