Radical Dharma

‘As an activist academic, I often cringe at such touch-feely sentiment. There is no time for feelings. The endless crunch of priorities punishes me for stopping long enough to notice my rage wreaking havoc on my body. It is not an accident. In the rush of the endless ways we find ourselves lost, late, behind, functioning beneath our best intentions and expectations, “I didn’t sit today” does not generally rise to the the top ten list of reasons we find ourselves lying awake in the middle of the night. So, why sit?
A friend wrote me the other day, telling me of her upsetting encounter with egoism in the academy, and she said, “I don’t know if I can last long in this world.” I responded not with blind optimism, but with the improvisational spirit of one for whom liberation from suffering is not an entitlement but a practice. “What if the thing that has to go, because something’s got to give, is anxiety itself?” I said. What if managing the fear of falling off this Ferris wheel – or anticipating its flying off its supports – is just too exhausting? Instead of propping one’s self up on lofty expectations or dropping the ball on our responsibilities to ourselves, to our work, to being present, to caring for each other, what would it look like to cut off our attachment, that hardwired sense of obligation to staying stressed? The Ferris wheel can’t stop, but we can.’ – Jasmine Syedullah

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