George Floyd’s mother couldn’t come running when he called for her, says Trudy Goodman. But mothers of the human family, from all over the world, did come running, pouring out in a pandemic to call for racial justice.
Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life, even so cultivate a boundless love toward all beings.
—The Buddha, in the Karaniya Sutta
As a mother, my heart was ripped open when I heard that George Floyd was calling for his mama as he lay begging to breathe, dying in the street.
His mama couldn’t come running—she had died two years before. So mamas of all races and ethnicities, mamas and members of the human family from all over the world, came running, pouring out in a pandemic to call for racial justice and demand equality for all.
But I’m seventy-five. In the time of coronavirus, I can’t march to protest the boundless injustices of white supremacy, police killings, and cruel leadership. My heart keeps aching. Compassion means not turning away from suffering—but how to hold so much of it?
When your heart is breaking, it helps to step back from preoccupation with the hourly news cycle and reflect on the cycles of stars and species being born and dying in the vast sweep of the universe.
Ram Dass used his imagination to wrap a blanket of love around the cosmos as he meditated. In Buddhanasati practice, known as “recollection of the Buddha,” you imagine the noble qualities of the Buddha, recollecting and dwelling on them. In our personal version of this practice, we can call to mind teachers, friends, family members, and neighbors who radiate their inner beauty and love.
I often reflect on the qualities of people who demonstrate daily that caring and courage are always possible for the human heart. I remember Marion Wright Edelman’s respect for children’s needs, Rosamaria Segura’s dedication to Central American communities, and the Dalai Lama’s beacon of tenderness. I appreciate the unspoken strength of my mother, the creative generosity of my father, and my daughter’s devotion to her family. Countless expressions of boundless love toward all beings!
We human beings still have so much to learn about ourselves, our bodies, and this earth. We are just waking up, and we have millions of years to go! When your heart is breaking, it helps to step back from preoccupation with the hourly news cycle and reflect on the cycles of stars and species being born and dying in the vast sweep of the universe. It helps to get grounded in the elements by cooking (fire), cleaning up (earth), going for a walk (air), taking a bath (water), and in meditation resting in the arms of the cosmos (space). Open your senses and receive this unique moment in all eternity.
May we all protect our “only child,” our life in this moment.
May we be inspired to come running when
May our hearts be filled with loving-kindness.