We hope this message finds you safe during this time of collective upheaval. It’s been a turbulent time in our world: our streets, our homes, and our conversations with everyone from online acquaintances to close family.

Like so many, we want to find ways to address the current situation both in the US and the world by offering inspiration and positivity, as well as critical self-reflection. We feel it’s important to look at where we as communities and as individuals have perpetuated a broken status quo and/or not taken action against egregious injustice.

While we don’t want to contribute to the noise and divisiveness of the moment, we remain committed to a vision that the arc of scripture bends toward a kingdom whose primary characteristic is shalom.

On the collective level, this means health, balance, wholeness, and justice, characterized by mutuality, reciprocity, and humility. On the individual level, this manifests as the fruits of the spirit. This weekend in La Mesa, CA, I saw that someone had painted the fruits of the spirit like a tree on a sheet of pressboard covering the broken windows of a nearby business.

We recognize our community is at different stages on this journey. We do not advocate a politicized conversation at Contemplative Light. Yet, we understand that a call for justice may be interpreted as capitulation to distorted media narratives. For others, silence is complicity.

We believe that justice is not partisan, and though we are an interspiritual organization encompassing many traditions and lineages, we hold that the divine presence, the Logos, is a relational and moral order not organized around our individual egos. Contemplative practices immerse us in a love that dissolves our attachments to egoic and tribal identities.

The question we are left with as we are being refined by this process of relinquishment is: what does lovingkindness require now?

This is the awareness we invite you into. Of transformation and healing, of profound peace in our hearts and souls. This becomes the fertile soil for right action.

  • It may be a time for personal discernment of the ways in which we fashion an identity through disidentification and exclusion.
  • It may be a time to reach out in building new relationships, which is often a prerequisite for meaningful transformation.
  • It may be time for asking questions, for learning and listening, for having unafraid conversations about race and prejudice.
  • It may be time for direct action, organizing, or service.
  • It may be time to unplug and rest.
  • It may be time to stand in solidarity.
  • Or kneel in solidarity.

During a time of pain and anxiety and uncertainty, we may be so entrenched in our positions that we are offended by phrases meant to heal. It’s as clear as ever that we can be blinded by categories and language born of the ego.

This is why it’s so important for us to find practices that penetrate more deeply than our conditioning, our cultural lenses, and our contrived dramas. Deeper presence makes a genuinely loving posture and loving action possible.

May we collectively take advantage of this opportunity for wholeness with diligence, presence, and skillful attentiveness, even as we are still in the midst of collective pain, outcry, and upheaval.

Very best to you!

Marc Thomas Shaw
Executive Director, Contemplative Light

Going Further:
We’ve found these resources resonating strongly during this time:
https://eckharttolle.com/the-opportunity-in-adversity/
https://sojo.net/articles/richard-rohr-white-privilege