On Flesh

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Dear Friends: Back to basics.

The life in me needs to be wonderful.

To be wonderful, the life in me -- needs to be safe, needs to be healthy, needs to be happy.

To be happy, the life in me needs to take some risks with my safety and health.

To be safe, the life in me -- needs a place to call home, needs a role in a family and tribe. (To feel safe, my mind thinks I need to be self-sufficient.)

To be healthy, the life in me -- needs a particular combination of molecules  and energy to flow through my body, needs to exert my body to strengthen it, needs to rest my body to refresh it.

To be healthy, the life in me -- needs information to flow into my mind, needs to exert my mind to strengthen it, needs to rest my mind to refresh it.

To be healthy, the life in me -- needs to feel mystic connection with the unknowable, needs to practice opening to mystery, needs to retain the ability to love the mundane.

To be healthy, the life in me -- needs practical help from others to achieve healing.

To be happy, the life in me -- needs freedom, needs discovery, needs sharing, needs kindness, needs beauty.

The 2016 annual meeting of Friends Committee on National Legislation, held in Washington, DC, began the day after the U.S. general election and closed with reflection on Isaiah 58:6-12. In that scripture, the prophet instructs us on “the acceptable fast,” the actions that can fasten our wills to God’s.  Namely, “to loose the chains of injustice . . . to set the oppressed free and break every yoke . . . to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter; when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood . . .”

Hold fast to the vision of safety for all life on earth, which is our own flesh and blood. Hold fast to the vision of health and happiness for all. At the same time, remain aware that 33 states in the U.S. have “stand your ground” gun laws, 32 states in the U.S. uphold the death penalty (including all states in the West except New Mexico), 780 million people are living in hunger, and the current rate of species extinction is about 1,000 times higher than the natural background rate.

Hold fast to what is required of you as a participant in life on earth. Loose the chains of injustice, feed the hungry, and provide shelter to the poor.