My world is tilted and jaded, not just a little, towards a liberal bent and view, towards people who don’t look like your neighbor, towards an inclusive and do-gooder world order. I seek out the marginalized and misplaced. I consider myself one.  I work rigorously to keep my mind open, to learn and grow and speak from a non-condemning and compassionate space. I have great friends on both sides of the political and religious discussion. I seek to build bridges, and I work hard to not hold any radicalized point of view.

Essentially, I believe nothing is the truth, and everything has truth.

Around the election, I was bombarded with words and behaviors I didn’t understand. It changed me. I saw an ugliness in myself and my community and in every corner of our country that alarmed me. I quickly knew I couldn’t stand for it and went in search of who I wanted to be, how I wanted to show up and what my role would / should be in this new world order. I retreated from a bunch of spaces and activities that didn’t seem to serve me. In their place I did some inner mulling.bahai

I’ve spent my entire life working toward unions and collaboration and actions that yield mutual benefit. I broker things. Literally. So when nearly all my friends started talking about acts of “resistance” and joining the “resistance” and saying we must “resist” I honestly didn’t know what they were talking about. It felt like we were seeking division and exclusion, the opposite of what I’ve stood for.

On inauguration evening I joined my friends at a “resistance salon”.. a gathering of hearted people who make a difference. We talked of resistance and what it meant to each of us and the roll we would play going forward. A relief and surprise to me, much of our discussion had little to do with politics, and our president’s name was hardly mentioned. That evening “the resistance” became a call to action, a personal exploration of how we want to show up and serve the world for the bettering of all.

One man’s words grabbed my heart and still hasn’t let go. “The greatest form of resistance is to honor the Sabbath.”

Right away I knew it was my kind of true. Sabbath, defined in the widest sense, is exactly what we all need. A formal commitment to, and practice of, inner exploration before outer action.

I made a commitment to honor the Sabbath ( as I define it ) as one of my forms of resistance. I’ve committed to resist narrow thinking, condemning speech, hardened points of view. I set out to visit 52 different forms of the Sabbath.. discovering a wide range of the ways people worship and take time out for time in. In just these first few months I’ve been to places I loved and places I hated. I’ve not yet felt neutral in any space, and that feels good to me, this doesn’t feel like a neutral subject. I’ve worked hard to let go of the specific doctrines, not to get turned off by word choice or physical space. I paid close attention to how I felt, what various forms of worship stirred inside me. Above all, I am grabbing hold of the moments where I feel the most connection, the common threads of wisdom and grace that resonate in all worship, the teachings that are universal in language and can seep into anyone’s heart.

For example, this last Sunday’s exploration had me at the Bahai Temple in Wilmette, IL;

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.

how about we explore resistance together.

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Discussion

  • Tom Iwanski

    Tyler,

    Thank you, as always, for giving the time and energy to share your ideas. You are doing good work.

    Tom

    • Tyler Lewke

      Thanks Tom, every word is a step as they say _/_ hope all is well.

  • pauldeshotels

    Thank you Tyler for your wise thoughts. I was reminded of something recently shared with me in response to these turbulent times:

    Unknown author: I have found these words really helpful.
    “Who do I want to be in this situation?”
    That is the only question that EVER really matters.
    I insist that we can learn — with practice — how to choose our emotional state in and our emotional response to all situations. This has to be true. If this isn’t true, then we are TRULY AND THOROUGHLY FUCKED — because our state of being is literally the only thing in this world that we can control.
    This is not denial. This is not complacency. This is not me cheerfully saying, “Oh well! I’m sure everything will be fine!” Sometimes things are not fine. Sometimes the diagnosis is terminal cancer. Sometimes the dark forces win. Sometimes the outcome is dreadful.
    But all our practices in peace and grace and equanimity and courage are for TIMES LIKE THESE — for times when you do not get the outcome that you want. This is when it matters. When the shit goes down, and the shit goes wrong, and when the shit gets real — that’s when the shit gets interesting. That’s when the test comes: Who will you be now? Right now. Right this moment. Because that’s the only part that is up to you.