On human interdependence and breathing

Since the failed grand jury decision in Ferguson I have been wanting to write something meaningful here about that. Then the Staten Island grand jury failed to find any cause to indict, and I even more wanted to write something meaningful. But what? what could I say? Eric Garner could not breathe, and I could not find words to write.  Then I cam across this meditation by Jan Willis, and so I share it with you in recognition of our deep interdependence, because breathing is a most basic human right.

Why We Can’t Breathe BY JAN WILLIS 

Lions Roar DECEMBER 7, 2014


We can’t breathe!

In Buddhist meditation, our breathing is essential. Anapana, meditation on the breath, was the Buddha’s first meditation instruction and the basis for all further meditative endeavors. Breathing is not only life-sustaining and calming; it is a foremost teaching aid. Breathing, we sense immediately our necessary connection to what is other than ourselves. Without the exchange of air —inner and outer–we would die. We are not independent. We are dependent.

We are interdependent. We are connected with one another. We breathe the same air. That air is neither black nor white. We share the life-force of all.

If one of us cannot breathe, none of us can breathe fully and deeply and we no longer experience our connection with one another.

If Eric Garner cannot breathe, then we cannot breathe. If Michael Brown no longer breathes, we cannot breathe. If Tamir Rice does not breathe, we cannot breathe.

Something is mightily broken. A hard rock of sadness and pain rolls itself up in our hearts and we cannot breathe. We must do something—swiftly and non-violently–to right the moral compass. Because, at this moment, none of us can breathe.