Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

Inclusive...or not?

I don't like this word inclusive. It has become associated with political correctness, has become a buzz word, and has taken on virtually religious sacredness. I'm a conservative, you know, and not particularly enamored of all that makes the modern world nod and smile.

There are certain people, certain ideas, and certain realities I do not wish to include in my frame of reference or acceptance. I have grit in my ears from shoving my head in the sand. I have motes in my eye which I am content to live with. I have an aversion in my mouth to the pronouncing of words which sound too culturally conforming. All of which is to say that I am as prejudiced as the next person. Is this OK?

Well, I don't (or shouldn't) have to accept hateful people. I don't have to accept hateful ideas and I don't have to accept imperfect interpretations of history. Inclusivity has its limits, doesn't it?

What's the point?

I was listening to a teaching yesterday which addressed the matter of Loving-Kindness (metta). The talk was going on just fine, and helpfully, until the teacher used the "I..." word. She was linking inclusivity with loving-kindness. My internal guards woke up and stood attention at the doors of my mind and heart. Here is what I heard.

Inclusivity, in the arena of loving-kindness, means acknowledging the right of every thought and feeling to exist in my heart, mind and body. Inclusivity, in this arena, is not a question of judging something's merit or propriety, just its (and I don't like this word either) right to exist.

Like most people I know there is a fairly steady stream of thoughts, ideas, words, images, and feelings coursing through me that I do not like or approve of. I certainly do not wish to utter them or act on them or see them realized. They are just there.

Mindfulness is the non-judging, curious, and compassionate observation of whatever is going on inside of us at any given moment. Here is greed. Here is love. Here is criticism. Here is gratitude. Here is boredom. Here is fear. All of it. All of them; inclusive.

The only way I can skillfully attend to what is going on inside of me (and without me) is by acknowledging the absolute reality of it all. If I leave something out of my internal field of vision, because I judge it to be less than helpful or wholesome or holy, my wisdom is limited. I must be inclusive. It is all part of the human package I have to work with. And, it is all transient, impermanent and conditioned (which means that none of it is, finally, who I am).

Another way of putting this is to say that in order for me to peacefully live with myself I must acknowledge the existence of all of me.

Which makes me want to watch that 1984 classic, All of Me, with Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin...and to be a bit more wise, and a bit less reactive, when I hear someone utter the word INCLUSIVE.

What do you call it when...?

The Leaves are Down