"I can’t do everything. And so I don’t do anything. But that’s the mistake. Community is about just doing my part."
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
One of my favorite Zen contemplatives, believe it or not, happens to be a Catholic nun, Sister Simone Campbell. She's a lawyer, poet, feminist, lobbyist, and activist. Most famous for her work on social justice and the Nuns on the Bus project — her focus is on bridging the "wealth gap" and making reforms that benefit the "100%."
There is a very old story many of us know, but it's the version by Sister Simone Campbell that really resonates in today's context. It's a mix of humor, poignancy, and the power of storytelling:
"Loaves and Fish," a poem by Sister Simone Campbell:
So, what can we do when we so easily become overwhelmed. On this, Sister Simone said:
On her spiritual combination of community, Zen, and Christianity, she interprets the scripture in this helpful way:
"We can do this." I think there is enough for people from all religious and spiritual faiths, or no faiths, to come together with community as the common ground. Not only in the East, Sister Simone reminds us that contemplation and meditation is also deeply embedded in traditional Western culture. The Bible after all is a book of poetic verses. When we stonewall categories and think, that's only for those others in that different belief system, we miss out on so much togetherness and intrinsic value.
When we focus on the differences and disconnect ourselves — as separate bodies — this group will not talk to that group, that group will hate this group. And what we are left with is war and isolation. Community is the shedding of those walls. On this, all of us must reflect.
Useful Companions (Improve Your Education and This Site by Buying a Book):
- A Nun On The Bus: How All Of Us Can Create Hope, Change, And Community - Sr. Simone Campbell
- The Miracle Of Mindfulness - Thich Nhat Hanh
- Becoming Human - Jean Vanier
- New Seeds Of Contemplation - Fr. Thomas Merton
- Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account Of The Death Penalty That Sparked A National Debate - Sr. Helen Prejean