I've never been very good at feasting on the daily newspaper. It turns bitter in my mouth. And yet, this is my world. This face of suffering I must embrace as a part of my responsibility. Part of the feast is becoming aware of the world that is mine. Part of the feast is owning this broken world as my own brokenness.
The meeting of a customer and a clerk across the service counter in a store is as significant as two leaders of nations meeting over a conference table in search of peace. If peace and understanding is possible, it must occur in the moment that is present. It can occur only when relationship is real and unconditional. Relationship begins with thoughtless awareness, an openness that sees and hears with humility, and a consideration that has already forgiven all things that the mind might present as a barrier to unity.
I have learned that no matter how much I learn about anything, I am always at 'the threshold of ignorance,' a frontier of inner and outer awareness (and lack of it) in which some things have become second nature, some things are new and a little uncomfortable, and some things are a complete mystery.
We forget that we ourselves are a part of history, that we are the product of growth and are condemned to perish if we lose the capacity for further growth and change. We are ourselves history and share the responsibility for world history and our position in it. But we gravely lack awareness of this responsibility.
Awareness is not something that needs to be manufactured: when there is a gap, awareness enters into us. So awareness does not require a certain particular effort. Such an effort is unnecessary. Awareness is like a wind. If you open your doors and windows, it is bound to come in.
Here and there awareness is growing that man, far from being the overlord of all creation, is himself part of nature, subject to the same cosmic forces that control all other life. Man's future welfare and probably even his survival depend upon his learning to live in harmony, rather than in combat, with these forces.