- Choose an issue on Death, loss, grief or sorrow Deep listening The first step in the circle is to choose an issue that you care about. There could be more than one, but it is easiest to start with one issue. As a circle you can also choose to explore on one issue and then move onto another issue in the future. This way, we can honor the many concerns held by our circle members.
- Examine the systems that cause your issue Open hearted attention There is a story of a fish that has always lived in water. One day, someone comes along and asks, “How’s the water?” The fish looks surprised and asks, “What water?” It has lived in water for so long it doesn’t even realize that it is there. This is like the societal systems we live in. We have been living in the same systems for so long that we don’t realize things could be different.
- Is there a purpose in having a practice/community as a pathway in social change Right Action It’s sometimes said that civic engagement, politics, and spirituality should be kept separate. But some of our most effective civic leaders have also been spiritual leaders. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement. Lucretia Mott was a Quaker abolitionist and women’s rights leader in the US. The list of past and present spiritual activists goes on and on: Mahatma Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, Maha Ghosananda, Thich Nhat Hanh….
- Learn from other engaged spiritual / faith communities Right Action Many communities are taking action, both within their sanghas/groups and in the work (volunteers) they’re doing in the world. We can learn from that.
- Do together action Right Action Korean Zen master Dae Soen Sa Nim wrote the following in one of his teaching letters: The student asked the founder of our tradition, Zen Master Seung Sahn, how do we help people? Zen Master Seung Sahn said, “First do together action.” To do together action, meet people who care about what you care about and know more about it than you do. Join their organizations. Learn with them and learn from them. Lend support to their efforts. We don’t have to organize our own climate march; there are lots of people who are already organizing. All it takes to join in is showing up and doing together action.
Adapted from “Like a Fish in Water,” a talk at The Whole World in a Single Flower Conference 2018. remixed from Colin Beavan, Lion’s Roar article
Death cafe has no agenda yet those in the Cafe can expand being present with these core virtues of being present (ed)