The Journey of a Billion Miles Begins with a Single Breath

by Mark Chmiel

You have to get below the roiling waves of anger
You have to stand shoulder-deep in sadness

Then you can water your compassion and embrace one person after another
Then you can see yourself in the person aggrieved

Then you can see yourself in the person afflicting the aggrieved
Then you can see yourself in the person remaining indifferent or afraid

Then you can learn three more of your true names
Then you can breathe in deeply all the tears

Then you can breathe out the faintest hint of a smile
Then you can transform sadness into metta

Then you can move very slowly
They you can speak very softly so as not to press someone’s buttons

Then you can look in each direction without fear
The you can know each elder is your parent

Then you can realize that each youth is your child
Then you can be peace in the very here and how

You can start now
This will take you decades

So, go ahead, smile—
This is the path

 

Homeless NYC

–from novel-in progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris 

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