The following is an email I sent my teacher, Thay Kozen, followed by a reply via text, followed by my reply to this text.

These are strange times.  I feel surrounded by people so passionately affected by all the craziness–politics, black lives matter, pandemic, and so on.  Some get very passionate about their opinion.

Maybe I’m suffering from compassion fatigue, but I’m just not getting all riled up by it all.  Part of me resists due to my not wanting to get sucked into the vortex created by the non-stop media coverage.  And I’ve heard a few times that just by being white, I’m complicit in the injustices suffered by black people today and through the years.  But I hear no one say that just by living in a first world country, we are complicit in the injustices suffered by the Royhinga and the Uighurs and so many others that are all but forgotten about.  And then there’s the battered wife who lives just down the road and the five year old boy just a bit further down the road who suffers at the hand of his abusive parent.  Who rallies for them?  There’s the one million people who died yesterday and the one million people who will die tomorrow.  Why are they not on the news?

It’s not that I don’t know the answer.  It’s called psychic numbing.  And yet I feel a little left out of all the angst and passion.

Maybe I’ll sit.

Screenshot of text from Thay Kozen

So why are people getting all riled up about the crazy state of affairs in today’s world—Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, and Covid-19?  Triple whammy!  The answer that comes to mind without thinking about it stems from a Kabbalah idea I’ve recently come across.  According to Kabbalah beliefs, we are here on earth to “repair the world.”  I wonder if there’s any difference between this idea and Boddhicita Compassion, the aspiration to awaken so that we may help all sentient beings become free from suffering.  But I digress.  “Repair the world.”  What an elegant phrase.  Such economy of words.  And yet it seems that many people, instead of trying to repair the world, are trying to fix other people.  Fixing other people.  Implicit in that inelegant phrase is a strong attachment to self; a strong attachment to right and wrong, good and bad; a strong attachment to things as we want them to be, not as they are.  Fixing other people.  If there is a more surefire path to suffering, I hope I never find it.