It’s a New Year! And we at the Centre very much wish that 2016 will turn out to be good to you, your loved ones, and all living beings.
Whatever your personal experience of last year, there’s no doubt that the defining public events of the year were often grim, rather than uplifting. And realistically this trend in our collective life is likely to continue, perhaps deepen in this coming year. It’s right to address this now.
So we hope that you are sustained by many positive experiences and relationships, enabling you to face what must be faced, matching its intensity with an equal arousal of your courage, compassion and wisdom.
We hope that you have or can find the crucial support of close loved ones and the solidarity of a wider community. Despite and because of these challenges to our humanity, we can still take a stand, acting privately and publicly, alone and together. Tempted by despair or cynicism, we can still grow a little more proud of what it means to be human.The questions that are being asked of us by these events are often not easy or superficial. They arise out of complex causes, and every answer leads to complex effects, both intended and unintended.
But perhaps that complexity is not the true source of our quandary or discomfort? Perhaps our discomfort arises because these events probe deeply and sharply into the nature and quality of our own humanity, individually and collectively? What are its non-negotiables? What are its limits? What are the true sources of our strength and aliveness? How widely do we draw the line that marks out ‘us’ from ‘them’? And how impermeable is that line? What lives now most intensely in us, what grips us? Fear? Or love? Anger or hope?
We have well rehearsed strategies for avoiding and blurring these questions of who we actually are or could be. What is uncomfortable, what is outrageous, what is unreasonable is that these events say, “No more dithering! You must answer these questions now! Here! Immediately!”