Dear Earth, it’s too much.On 9th September 2019 by Satya
On waking, I read of Hurricane Dorian. These extreme weather furies have always happened on your body, Dear Earth, and crushed us like ants under an elephant’s foot. The scientists tell us that we have already made the weather gods more capricious, and that in the coming years more and more of us will be crushed or displaced or starved.
I look at the photo of the man who lost his son. I look into his eyes. His suffering enters me, and pools into the suffering of the burning trees, the desperate farmers, the last few Amur leopards, the desiccating coral reef, the weeping ice-caps.
Sometimes it is too much.
There is an old story about Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who hears the cries of all suffering beings. She vowed to save them, and was furnished with many arms so she could reach out and offer balm to them all. She helped without stopping, saving millions, until one day she looked down and saw that even as she worked, millions more were streaming into the hell realms. It was too much for her, and in that moment she shattered.
As she shattered, she cried out for help. She cried to Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and the story goes that as she called, he came to her broken body and tenderly put it back together again. From that time on he had her back, and she continued in her work of compassion, no longer alone.
As an ordinary foolish being, I have many limits. I only have the energy for a certain amount of action. I need to say no often, and make space to retreat, and stroke cats and eat pizza and read murder mysteries.
I can also only hold so much suffering in my heart. I want to keep my eyes and ears open to the truth, and I want to let it move me. My grief and rage fuels me, and it connects me to my comrades. I also want to remember that, however many arms I have, there is too much suffering for me to bear. When I am near to my limit, I can call out for help before I shatter.
I have your back, beloved Earth. I am often greedy, hateful, or confused. I am often driven to act through my fear. I am also trying my best to help you. Together, many feeble human beings like me, driven by our grief, rage and love, can make something very strong. When we ask each other and the gods for help, it is never too much.
Love, Satya <3