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Just Is, Justus

03/26/2016

We are all fundamentally interrelated, uniquely centering, and impermanent – and we cannot escape these facts even when we try to stand apart, to be selfish, to insulate ourselves from pain and change, even when we hurt one another in the process. And if we are honest, we can see in the unskillful actions and sufferings of others a mirror into our own heart, for we are in truth no different in our fear and insecurity. And so we cannot judge the acts of others as if we were separated from them, as if we were above them, as if we were better. The world is constructed with intertwining threads of all that is worst – and best – running through all of us. We can see this in the commonplace of our daily lives. For instance, if we do not provide good schools for some children and they grow up angry, disenfranchised and alienated, then we have created those feelings and the anti-social actions that will result from such causes; alternatively, when we give love, we create love and feel loved. If we pollute the planet, we are poisoned; if we care for one another and for all things, we are more secure. It is simple: we cannot escape our interdependence.

But sometimes, the decisions with which we are faced seem impossible, the skillful, loving way blocked, the path forward unfathomable by reason or logic. In these difficult times, we often seek to justify our unskillful actions with some rationalization, to justify our self-image to others and to ourselves.

But perhaps we may live not resigned to the suffering and injustice of what happens to loved ones, to innocents, and even to the battle-scarred, not resigned to the pernicious effects of impermanence, not resting in rationales of resignation. Without the comfort of an easy religious fatalism or a reductive, ideological accounting that permits or even fosters suffering for the greater good, instead we may live absurdly impassioned a life of love and wholeness in impermanence, come what may, making of ourselves a demand of embracing, loving energy in all circumstances. Then, dying in each moment to be born in flux anew, not accepting the sufferings of the countless because they are uncountable, neither accepting the fates nor rejecting them, we meet – we are – each moment afresh, intimate with our suffering inter-dependents. And in selflessness, emptied of personal loss and gain, emptied of self-reference, emptied even of the notion of ‘helping others’, we discover an impassioned, wholehearted commitment to each and every one we so fleetingly and impossibly love even in the ever-present shadow of pain and death, in compassion living absurdly imbued with the demand for fairness, goodness, relief – even in circumstances that do not seem to reasonably permit or ratify such an attitude.

Encountering you now – intimate communicant, mirror of my mirror – one meets a gem reflecting all things, a wondrous being with your own outward-affecting creative power and beauty unimaginable, with the sorrow and fallibility of the human in you, all coursing now through these very words red with the pulsing blood-presence of you. And there is nothing ever that any of us can say or do to change this wellspring interconnectedness.

So ethics, if we can call it that, is not only a personal matter. The political dimension, the dimension of how we live together, is fundamentally implicated. As persons who are aware of our interdependence through causes and conditions – our mutual arising – and of our role as causal agents, we are ones who avoid the harm of others in thought, word and deed. So responsibility for sentient being enters into every political decision. We plan and act without a certain central obstacle: without the interference of the project of ‘me’. In so doing, we treat all beings as unique and irreplaceable, finding equality in absolute difference, in the absolute particularity of each interrelated phenomenon. And to act in accordance with this stance is to act justly – because justice is the infinite demand of the absolutely equal, unique other upon us. Shorn of self-concern, centered in what just is, we manifest ‘just is’, we manifest justice. And we undertake the demand for justice, for ‘just is’, without arrogance or self-righteousness – understanding, as gems reflecting all, our beginningless and endless implication in injustice and injury,

this very implication

just is

what calls us to us,

justus.

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5 Comments
  1. Brilliant! Bravo!

  2. Ruth Mouton permalink

    Dear Martin,

    Reading this, after the attacks on innocent people in Brussel , is a very good vision on what is .

    As you say – “the intertwining threads of all that is worst –and best- running through us all.”

    “If we do not provide good schools for some children – they grow up angry”

    Have a good easter weekend,

    Ruth Mouton

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  1. Just Is, Justus by Martin Appletree – Grevillea Corner

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