"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, a 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 her version of the story that really resonates in the context of today. 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. Sister Simone is a good reminder that it is not just in the East, but traditional Western practices also can and do have a rich culture of contemplation and meditation. When we stonewall categories and think, that's only for those others in that different belief system, we can miss out on so much value and togetherness.
When we focus on the differences and separate ourselves, to use the analogy, as separate bodies — this group will not talk to that group, this group hates that group — what is left is war and isolation. Community is the shedding of those walls. On this, all of us must reflect.
Useful Companions to This Article:
- 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