A participant in Larry Rosenberg’s Tricycle Retreat comments:

You make so many things that we hear about move from the abstract to “real” in the sense that now I can truly understand and can use that wisdom in my life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could really talk to the discouraged people, not just in the oil spill area but all over this country where negative change is endemic.

Now what I imagine you saying is, can’t you talk to the discouraged people you meet this way?  Yes, I could.

And Larry replies:

Yes, oil spill is one example of a general challenge. Start by being fully aware of what the painful event brings up; not for, not against; clear sustained attention. Of course this will probably be a series of challenges over time. If the mind is steady and clear from practice we are taken to a clear mind, that is, not reactive, and a response is possible that is fresh, not from old conditioning; the response is more likely to be kinder and wiser and thus more able to do what is next. Of course all this assumes that the mind has had some training. For someone new, metta, breath awareness, reflective insight (wise thinking via Dharma teachings) may help.

Much of Larry’s teaching in this retreat concerns an imaginary conversation between the Buddha and a shrimp fisherman who has lost his livelihood thanks to the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Our world is one of uncertainty and impermanence. Larry challenges us to actively engage with our loss, which is really our life. Become a Tricycle Community Sustaining Member to take part in this and all Tricycle Retreats.