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Finding our center in moral courage and compassion

Finding our center in moral courage and compassion

What gets me through the day

New Raven graphic drawn by my daughter, Erika Mazza-Smith

So much of what I write in this journal is about the deep and heavy challenges facing our world. I want to share a few thoughts about what keeps me going through all this, in hopes that they will be helpful to you, my dear readers.

First, there is a thought from Buddhist psychology that if there is too much of one thing, deliberately add in the opposite. Now consider the word discouragement. That’s easy to feel these days, and it’s a hindrance to getting stuff done. Within that word is its own opposite, courage. That’s a quality we think too little about nowadays. But it is vital. We need a certain moral courage to confront the realities of the day. That is the balancing element that overcomes discouragement.

Next is the importance of each one of us finding our own center, which requires a certain application of moral courage. We live in a world of distractions and messages about what is important, what deserves our attention. In our media-saturated universe, we are constantly drawn away from the place we are to this or that abstraction. Indeed, we do live in a large and complex world, and it is easy to lose ourselves. Sometimes, we just have to know where we plant our feet, and be present in the moment. Know our coordinates in space and time. Be here now, as they say.

Civilization is inherently hierarchical, and has been since the start something like 5,000 years ago. So there is a constant call to authority, and in organized societies that is inevitable. In finding our own center, we find a place to challenge illegitimate authorities, ones which are self-serving and producing bad outcomes…

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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