using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 38 The irony of being forced to sit motionless in the chapel with my eyes cast down to a spot on the floor was not lost on me. Without the cuffs and with a bit of shifting, I could have been sitting in lotus position. I quickly realized, in fact, that my years of meditation practice were making this exercise in “sitting” far more tolerable for me than it otherwise would have been. I found myself empathizing with the plight of those around me who hadn’t had the benefit of practice, and I was once again remind- ed that the pain and suffering of others is my pain and suffering as well. None of us is separate from any other, which means we can’t separate ourselves from each others’ trials and afflictions either. The question was, what could I possibly do in my present state to ease the suffering I was privy to? If I’d had my way, everybody’s cuffs would have been taken off. People could have moved freely in their seats and talked quietly amongst themselves. Unfortu- nately, I could do nothing physically to alleviate the discomfort of those around me. My cuffs were as tight as everyone else’s. But what I could do was face this moment with them, exer- cising clarity, awareness, and compassion. In this way I hoped that at least their pain would not go completely unnoticed or be dismissed out of hand. After all, like everyone else, the men sweating their way through yet another institutional shakedown deserved to have their plight recognized. All too often, one’s humanity gets forgotten on the inside. Peo- ple become “inmates” and nothing more. When that happens, it gets much easier to treat someone badly. An officer doesn’t have to think twice about making someone walk with a broken neck, turning the fans away on a hot summer day, or cursing and shouting orders at people already outnumbered and subdued by cuffs. Sadly, whether it’s an inmate or an officer, when we forget another’s humanity we end up giving up our own as well. Vic- timizing becomes ever easier. By sitting with difficulty, however, we get an honest and un- biased look at the situation we’re facing and, by working with the compassion engendered by our practice, we can acknowledge and perhaps do away with some of the suffering of those around us. Perhaps as I experience the suffering of others through my practice, others may on some level experience the merit of that practice. Perhaps my awareness of others may begin to heal at least some of the suffering I have witnessed. When we got back to our cell after another long march, my celly and I spent a good hour straightening out our property boxes and putting away the stuff that had been messed up dur- ing the shakedown. He was tired and in pain from his exertion, and while he described the pain and the frustration of going so long without treatment, I sat and simply listened. It was all I could do for him at the moment. The act of listen- ing, of allowing myself to really hear what he had to say, became another way to acknowledge his situation as a human being. While it wasn’t the surgery he needed, it was at least a chance to speak his mind and to know that someone cared enough to be present for him. If I accomplished nothing more that day, chapel was worth every moment. Sitting with difficulty always is. ♦ NOV 18-39.indd 38 NOV 18-39.indd 38 9/1/08 12:18:42 PM 9/1/08 12:18:42 PM