#OccupySamsara: Just the Two of Us

December 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it, your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self, what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

-from the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu (author), Stephen Mitchell (translation)


It’s tiresome to continuously defend the Occupy Wall Street movement especially since I am personally having doubts and uneasy feelings about it.  One thing I point out to bewildered questioners is that OWS is very young.  Do you ask a three month old baby: “what are your demands?”  You would be highly foolish to attempt such a thing.  Do you scold the three month old baby for making a mess, for being loud and obnoxious, for smelling bad?  Do you tell a three month old baby to quit crying and get a job?  No, cuz it’s a baby, a beautiful angel and a nasty devil all in one adorable drooling package.

I Need This Movement

OWS was born out of our society to 1.) express anger and indignation and 2.) work toward creative solutions for societal problems.  Those problems are old (and old-fashioned): racism, sexism, economic oppression, conformity, inequality, and silence in the face of injustice.  We are tired of cynicism and dare to believe that 100% of the Earth’s people can live in peace, harmony, respecting one another, with enough clean air, food and nourishment for us all.

I am grateful that OWS has come into being in all its confusing glory.  There are days when I feel tired or sick or apathetic and I need the group to pick up the slack, to attend the 7:30am meeting by the Red Cube, to livestream the ports shut down all across the West Coast, to keep going, keep writing, keep tweeting and keep thinking of creative ways to get us out of the mess we are in as a society.  There is a lot to do and I surely cannot do it alone.  I need this movement to learn, to grow, to thrive, get bigger, stronger and better than it is now.

This Movement Needs Me

The flip side is that OWS needs me in order to evolve and flourish.  The movement needs my presence, my mindful self-aware self-reflective analysis.  It needs more level-headed activists, more immigrants, more folks involved in contemplative spirituality.  OWS needs healing and I am a healer, albeit a wounded one.  OWS needs writers and I am a writer.  OWS needs lovers and I am a lover, though a lonely one.  OWS needs me because without me it has less strength, less vigor, less dreams, less desire, less grounding and less love.

The Movement Needs Us

In order to succeed and make real tangible change happen this infant movement needs the care, energy and attention of the whole lot of us.  OWS needs cooks, needs teachers, needs engineers, needs actors, needs artists, needs computer programmers, needs project managers, needs yoga teachers, needs dentists, needs nurses, needs doctors, needs lawyers, needs all of our collective skills and knowledge.  The movement needs us all to wake up to the reality that things are not the way they used to be and things can and should be quite different.  Together we can actualize the change we seek in the world.



#OccupySamsara is a column dedicated to the heartfelt yearning for all sentient beings to be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.  Samsara is a Sanskrit word used by Buddhists to describe the cyclical nature of our own and societal suffering and dissatisfaction.

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