A Letter of Support

In light of hearing from so many who are struggling amid these times of political changes, I felt called to offer this letter, of which I hope will offer some support and benefit.

Dear friends along the path,

I know you suffer, and I am here for you.

I see that your anger and fear are rooted in a fierce compassion for others and out of a strong desire to do what you feel and know is right. As a mindfulness practitioner, the question is not whether or not to be angry, it’s about how we utilize our anger to influence our thoughts, speech, and actions. Is our anger motivating us to become more informed and involved with an open heart and sense of connection and compassion, or with an un-grounded, frantic sense of heaviness and despair? What seeds are we sowing in our wake?

Do you feel as though anger is not only an appropriate response but a necessary one, in order to affect change? I remember feeling this way when I was in my early 20’s. It took me a long while to reconcile my mindfulness practice with my deep-rooted feelings of anger, related to those I felt were responsible for both large and small acts of environmental degradation. Without anger, I queried, wouldn’t I then become complacent and ineffectual? Wasn’t anger a crucial motivator? As my foundation of mindfulness was being built and strengthened, I came to understand that the answer, to both questions, was: no.

There resides a middle path to follow. One that allows us to become involved with matters of injustice, human rights, and environmental advocacy work (just to name a few) while also choosing not to carry around and spread the heavy burden of anger everywhere we go. May our anger and upset start us on the path of active engagement with the world around us, and may we then learn how to transform that anger into mindfulness, concentration, and insight, so that our speech and actions will cause as little harm as possible as we move forward.

Anger isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, if we’re not careful and attentive, it can easily overtake and overwhelm our lives, causing us to become embittered, cynical, miserable, difficult to be around, and mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. If we allow our seeds of anger to be nurtured, we will create a very hostile and unpleasant atmosphere within and around us.

Feel your anger, dear friends, experience it as it arises, without judgement or suppression – I would not suggest otherwise. But don’t stop there. Investigate it. Become inquisitive. Understand your internal landscape, so that your actions that carry forth will be well informed. Do not allow your anger to go unchecked. Do not allow your seeds of love, ease, equanimity, inclusiveness, and interconnection to go un-watered. The well-being of our family, community, country, society, and the world depends on our ability to embody and practice the tools that mindfulness affords us, especially in the midst of change, challenge, struggle, adversity, and fear.

With Love and Support,

Nicole Dunn
True Wonderful Flower
Be Here Now Sangha
Missoula, Montana

11 thoughts on “A Letter of Support

  1. Raul Anorve

    Thank you for those wise words. It’s very difficult. It takes time and energy to let go of that anger. Anger promotes actions that feels the need to respond. What and how we respond, it requires a collective action otherwise it’s our ego that blinds us individually.

    Reply
  2. Beverly

    Thank you! You reminded me of this story. (Aesop?)

    Once upon a time, the North Wind boasted to the Sun that he was more powerful, and that it was only power that could accomplish things. They saw a man wearing a coat, and the North Wind said, “Watch how quickly I can take that man’s coat. You can’t achieve anything like that.” The Sun said okay, show me.” So the wind blew, and the man wrapped his coat more tightly about him. And the wind blew harder and harder – and the man gripped his coat more and more tightly. Finally, the Sun said, “Would you like me to try?”and the Wind laughed, “Sure, but what can YOU do?” The Sun smiled…and the man unbuttoned his coat. The Sun beamed and the man took off his coat and hung it on his arm. The Sun smiled more, and the man started to perspire. And then the Sun laughed, and the man hung his coat on a fence post and continued on his way.

    Reply
  3. Clear Spring of the Source

    Fear has arisen in my sangha and oft times given way to anger. It has saddened me and I have felt a disconnect. Thank you for reminding us of the middle path. I believe it is there that solutions are to be found.

    Reply
  4. Dewain Belgard

    Thanks Nicole for a much needed reminder. I’ve noticed birds that feed in a flock are less vulnerable to predators than the solitary birds. I believe something similar can be said for those whose spiritual practice is with a community – especially in these dark times when the forces of hate and divisiveness are so strong.

    Dewain Belgard
    True Good Source

    Reply
  5. Gary Bromley

    Your words of wisdom entered my mindstream in a timely manner. The harmful changes taking place are so numerous and extensive on a daily basis now. For me the challenges on my practice are strong and I find that keeping balanced is quite difficult. But I must acknowledge that so often in my life it has been the very hard challenges, met with perserverance, that have allowed positive growth spurts to occur.

    I am so grateful for the dharma, as well as your sharing and supportive practice reminders. Bowing

    Reply
  6. Nicole Dunn

    Thank you all for sharing your words and practice. I am so very grateful for being a part of this lovely sangha of friends along the path.

    With a warm smile,
    Nicole

    Reply
  7. Caitlin Bush - True Emerald Lake

    Although our sangha is in Aotearoa New Zealand and a long way away from the Northern Hemisphere, your sharing is very relevant for us here. We too feel the fear and uncertainty and value your insights and experience.

    Reply

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